"Recently, a new chapter was started in the handbook of terror involving the application of nerve gas technology to the killing of civilians. On March 19, a terrorist attack in a Tokyo subway resulted in the loss of 10 lives and injury to over 5,000 others. In view of the lethality of the suspected agent, sarin, the fatalities were surprisingly few. Terrorist attacks on civilians are not new, but what was unique about this particular attack was the use of a nerve agent instead of the customary conventional weapons. The possibility that nerve agents can be used against a vulnerable civilian population is alarming. A new era has begun, and we would be remiss if we did not learn from this one attack and take steps to prepare for the next. There is no doubt that those involved in the use of terror will learn from their mistakes and become more effective in their deployment of these horrific weapons. From a public perspective there are several questions that must be urgently addressed. What can we do to prevent such attacks and how do we respond if such an attack should occur? Can we prevent terrorist organizations from making nerve agents? How do we prevent them from delivering these agents to their targets? Is there anything that we as a society can do to protect ourselves in the event of a gas attack? How do we minimize our vulnerability? How do we respond to an attack?"
Environmental Health Perspectives www.ehp.niehs.nih.gov
Environmental Health Perspectives (May 1995), v.103 no.5, p.418-419