Responding to a Terrorist Attack Involving Chemical Warfare Agents   [open pdf - 723KB]

"Because of their availability and relative ease of dispersal, toxic and often lethal chemicals are potentially attractive weapons for terrorists. A chemical agent attack could result in high casualties, especially if the release occurs in an office building, indoor stadium, airport, or train station. The economic losses would be significant as well because of the time involved to remediate the area following such an attack. Federal and state agencies are thus working with major transportation centers to strengthen plans for responding to the possible use of chemical warfare agents. […] At the Laboratory's Forensic Science Center (FSC), chemists have been working closely with chemical warfare agents since the early 1990s to support treaty verification and U.S. intelligence efforts. Founded in 1991, FSC supplies analytical expertise to counter terrorism, aid domestic law enforcement, and verify compliance with international treaties. FSC researchers analyze virtually every kind of chemical evidence, some of it no greater than a few billionths of a gram. In addition, the center is one of two U.S. laboratories internationally certified for identifying chemical warfare agents, sometimes referred to as the poor-man's atomic bomb. Since 2008, Lawrence Livermore has been working closely with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prepare for incidents involving chemical weapons. FSC serves as EPA's environmental reference laboratory for developing and validating reliable, accurate, and extremely sensitive methods to analyze chemical warfare agents and their degradation products. Laboratory researchers have also characterized many toxic industrial compounds because the molecular structure and health effects of these substances are similar to those of known chemical warfare agents."

Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: https://www.llnl.gov/
Media Type:
Science & Technology Review (March 2010)
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