Thursday, December 1, 2011

Quick Facts: US chemical, biological weapons
U.S. Chemical Weapons

In response to German chemical attacks during World War I, The United States established the Chemical Warfare Service (CWS) in 1918. During the war, the CWS manufactured, stockpiled, and used chemical weapons, primarily mustard and phosgene gases.

The U.S. rapidly expanded its Chemical weapons (CW) development and production during World War II, with production of new chemicals including cyanogen chloride, hydrogen cyanide, and lewisite.

In 1969, Public Law 19-121 restricted testing, transport, storage and disposal of CW. Also in 1969, President Nixon signed an executive order halting further production of unitary chemical weapons. However, the Reagan administration reexamined the CW issue in the 1980s and began production of binary sarin artillery shells in 1987. nti

In 1987, the Pentagon admitted that it was operating 127 chemical and biological warfare research sites in the US.

During the Vietnam War the US military used about 21 million gallons of Agent Orange to defoliate trees in order to deny enemy fighters cover. Millions of Vietnamese were exposed, as were about 20,000 US soldiers. According to Vietnamese estimates, Agent Orange is responsible for the deaths of 400,000 people. Historycommons

In the 1960’s, the U.S. Defense Department sprayed live nerve and biological agents on ships and sailors in cold war-era experiments to test the Navy’s vulnerability to toxic warfare.


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