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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Chemical Weapons/Nerve Gas Scare at the UN

The United Nations weapons inspectors found 6 to 8 vials of of nerve gas, phosegene, as they were cleaning out offices at the UN, according to ABC.

Federal authorities said the office, in a U.N. building near headquarters, was being evacuated and the White House had been notified at 10 a.m.

New York police and fire officials said federal authorities had not notified them of any problem at the U.N. building, as of 11 a.m.

A U.N. spokesperson said a statement would be issued shortly.

Authorities said the phosgene was believed to have been discovered in Iraq and manufactured prior to 1991.

Former U.N. weapons inspectors told that vials of phosgene had also been used by inspectors in Iraq to help calibrate air sampling instruments.

The former inspectors said the remaining vials were supposed to have been destroyed.

"If it is properly sealed, it should not pose much of a threat unless it is dropped," said former New York City emergency services director Jerry Hauer, an ABC News consultant.

"They need to get it out of there and put it in a safe canister," Hauer said. "It shows immense stupidity to have that kind of thing sitting around as a souvenir."

Phosgene is: (Found at the CDC website)

What phosgene is

* Phosgene is a major industrial chemical used to make plastics and pesticides.

* At room temperature (70°F), phosgene is a poisonous gas.

* With cooling and pressure, phosgene gas can be converted into a liquid so that it can be shipped and stored. When liquid phosgene is released, it quickly turns into a gas that stays close to the ground and spreads rapidly.

* Phosgene gas may appear colorless or as a white to pale yellow cloud. At low concentrations, it has a pleasant odor of newly mown hay or green corn, but its odor may not be noticed by all people exposed. At high concentrations, the odor may be strong and unpleasant.

* Phosgene itself is nonflammable (not easily ignited and burned).

* Phosgene is also known by its military designation, “CG.”

Where phosgene is found and how it is used

* Phosgene was used extensively during World War I as a choking (pulmonary) agent. Among the chemicals used in the war, phosgene was responsible for the large majority of deaths.

* Phosgene is not found naturally in the environment.

* Phosgene is used in industry to produce many other chemicals such as pesticides.

* Phosgene can be formed when chlorinated hydrocarbon compounds are exposed to high temperatures. Chlorinated hydrocarbon compounds are substances sometimes used or created in industry that contain the elements chlorine, hydrogen, and carbon.

* The vapors of chlorinated solvents exposed to high temperatures have been known to produce phosgene. Chlorinated solvents are chlorine-containing chemicals that are typically used in industrial processes to dissolve or clean other materials, such as in paint stripping, metal cleaning, and dry cleaning.

* Phosgene gas is heavier than air, so it would be more likely found in low-lying areas.

How people are exposed to phosgene

* People's risk for exposure depends on how close they are to the place where the phosgene was released.

* If phosgene gas is released into the air, people may be exposed through skin contact or eye contact. They may also be exposed by breathing air that contains phosgene.

* If phosgene liquid is released into water, people may be exposed by touching or drinking water that contains phosgene.

* If phosgene liquid comes into contact with food, people may be exposed by eating the contaminated food.

How phosgene works

* Poisoning caused by phosgene depends on the amount of phosgene to which a person is exposed, the route of exposure, and the length of time that a person is exposed.

* Phosgene gas and liquid are irritants that can damage the skin, eyes, nose, throat, and lungs.

More from the Blotter.

If this was saved as a "souvenir", then someone has a very sick sense of what a souvenir should be.

Question: Aren't there controls in place at the UN to assure that Chemical weapons and nerve gases or any dangerous substances, that have been confiscated has been disposed of properly?

Debbie at Right Truth has a good piece up about this and a roundup of reactions.

Also take a good look at the link below, Amy from Bottom Line up Front speaks about it.

Tracked back by:
New Proof Emerges That Saddam Had No WMD Ambitions from Bottom Line Up Front...

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