Mustard: a potential agent of chemical warfare and terrorism.

R. N. Saladi, E. Smith, A. N. Persaud

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations

Abstract

As one of the most important vesicant agents, the destructive properties of mustards on the skin, eyes and respiratory system, combined with a lack of antidote, makes them effective weapons. Such weapons are inexpensive, easily obtainable and frequently stockpiled. Sulphur mustard (mustard gas) has been used as a chemical warfare agent in at least 10 conflicts. In this article, the use of mustard as a potential agent of chemical warfare and terrorism is outlined. The dose-dependent effects of acute sulphur mustard exposure on the skin, eyes, and respiratory system are described, as well as the possible extents of injuries, the mechanisms of action and the long-term complications. Prevention and management of mustard exposure are briefly discussed. The need for awareness and preparedness in the dermatological community regarding mustard exposure is emphasized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalClinical and Experimental Dermatology
Volume31
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2006

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