CBR: Chemical, Biological, Radiological overview

Chemical and Biological weapons are summarized below as to their debilitating or lethal effects and protection required. Definitions of common CBR terms follow the charts.

Nuisance Agents

Agent/Chemical

Protection Required

Physiological Effect

Tearing agents

CS, CN, CNC, CA

Respiratory and Eye protection

Eyes tearing, coughing, tightening of chest

Choking agents

CG, DP, CL

Respiratory

Coughing, tightening of chest, nausea

Vomiting agents

Dm, Da, Dc

Respiratory

Vomiting, headache, nausea, diarrhea

Blister Agent

Agent/Chemical

Protection Required

Physiological Effect

Mustard Gas

NH-2

Respiratory, Clothing and Eye protection

Blisters all skin it touches, can cause cancer/serious disfigurement, toxic to eyes

Nerve Agents

Agent/Chemical

Protection Required

Physiological Effect

VX

Respiratory, Clothing and Eye protection

Casualties through inhalation or absorption through skin

Sarin

GB

Respiratory, Clothing and Eye protection

Cessation of breath, death within 1-10 minutes

Tabun

GA

Respiratory, Clothing and Eye protection

Cessation of breath, death within 1-2 minutes

Soman

GD

Respiratory, Clothing and Eye protection

Cessation of breath, death may follow

Biological Agents

Agent/Chemical

Protection Required

Physiological Effect

Anthrax

Respiratory and Clothing

Cessation of breath, shock and death follow in 1-2 days

Ricin

Respiratory

Fever, chest tightness, nausea and death to follow

Definitions and Dispersal Agents

The primary purpose of nuclear weapons is the mass destruction of targets and personnel. The primary purpose of Biological and Chemical Weapons is the mass casualties of personnel, livestock and crops.

CBR = Chemical, Biological and Radiological agents.

Weapons of Mass Destruction — weapons capable of destroying large areas and/or killing and disabling large segments of the population.

Chemical Agents — man-made agents intended to disorientate, harass, impair and/or kill personnel. Broadly speaking there are two types of antipersonnel agents; casualty and incapacitating.

Chemical Agent Dispersal — munitions, aerosol sprays via aircraft, vehicle or terrorist/enemy personnel. Could be ejected in utility systems (water/ventilation etc.)

Biological Agents — living organisms, toxins and micro toxins used to disable or destroy people, domestic animals, damage crops and/or deteriorate supplies.

Biological Agent Dispersal — animals, insects and rodents can be used as carriers to spread BW agents. Saboteurs can also infect large numbers of people by contaminating water, milk and food supplies.

Radiological Agents — nuclear detonations are designed for mass destruction of targets and personnel. Nuclear detonations present three general categories of hazard; blast/shock wave, incendiary and radiation.

Blast/shock most often result in total destruction of targets and are beyond the scope of this review.

Radiological effects of nuclear detonations consist of four general elements. Alpha particles, Beta particles, gamma rays and Neutrons. Gamma rays and Neutron radiation have immediate and long-term effects. Deep shelter and shielding is the only effective protection against these types of radiation.

Alpha rays can usually pass a short distance, less than 1mm in water. A single piece of paper can stop an alpha ray effectively. Therefore health effects of alpha-ray exposures appear only when alpha-emitting materials are ingested (ii.e., internal exposure).

Radiological Agent Dispersal — high detonation explosive munitions via missile. A growing concern is that of "suitcase bombs" using nuclear technology.

Detection — two basic methods of detection are personnel and public identification.

Personnel — eye irritation, itching skin, tightness of chest, questionable substances present.

Public — command announcement or public broadcast. Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) teams would identify. Early or advanced warnings via television, radio or urgent message.

 

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