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Some arsenic compounds which are potential chemical weapons
Source: A FOA Briefing Book on Chemical Weapons
Among the arsenal of chemical weapons can be found mustard agent mixed with lewisite which is an aliphatic arsenic compound, 2-chlorovinyldichloroarsine. Pure lewisite is a colorless liquid. Solubility in water is approximately the same as for mustard agent but the volatility is much higher. Hydrolysis in water is faster than for mustard agent. Injuries caused by lewisite are similar to those caused by mustard agent.
However, the mechanism of action for lewisite is different. From the diagnostic viewpoint, an important difference is that symptoms in lewisite poisoning are not delayed and the irritating effect occurs immediately. Skin damage is treated in the same way as after exposure to mustard agent. A specific antidote (BAL, British Anti Lewisite, dimercaptopropanol) gives good protection against local injuries to skin and mucous membrane. BAL also has effect against systemic poisoning.
Other arsenic-containing substances have also been of interest as CW agents. One example is adamsite, 10-chloro-5,10-dihydrophenarsazine, which is a nasal and throat-irritating powder.
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