Choking agents are not a common chemical weapon, not nearly as deadly as nerve agents but have the advantage of being very
easy to manufacture.
Chemical irritants were first used by the French
during the first world war, deploying Xylyl Bromide as a tear gas
The German military then researched the used of chemical weapons and launched the first chlorine
gas attack on the allies on the
of April 1915. Later the first phosgene
attack was carried out the 19th
of December 1915.
Following these attacks, both the allies and Germany used chemical weapons, manufacturing a total of approximately 100,000 tons of
and 40,000 tons of phosgene
Description: Yellowish-green gas, extremely strong smell. Symptoms from inhalation usually occour 30 minutes after exposure.
Description: Clear gas, odour is weak since smell is impaired by exposure. Boils at 8oC, hence typically used as a gas.
Effects felt after approximately 4 hours, full effect within 12 to 24 hours.
Synonyms: Trichloromethyl Chloroformate
Description: Very similar to phosgene, although typically a liquid (boils at 127oC).
Description: Oily colourless or light-green liquid with a very strong odour, possible explosion hazard.
Choking agents all have similar effects, attacking the lung tissue through inhaltion, they usually lead to a pulmonary edema (build
up of liquid in the lungs), symptoms of which include:
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
These agents all cause irritation to the eyes (diphosgene less so), and the symptom
s usually manifest
themselves 4 hours or so
after the initial exposure.
Chlorine is very easy to obtain, read Amoeba Protozoa's writeup on chlorine for more information.
Phosgene can be obtained by reacting carbon monoxide and chlorine with a catalyst.
The simple equipment and techniques needed to manufacture these chemicals makes them dangerously accessible to anybody with basic safety precautions.
Symptoms may take up to 12 hours to appear, so regular re-assesment is needed.
Those exposed should remove contact lenses and should seek rest and warmth, since exercise may worsen effect of a pulmonary
Choking agents damage lung tissue, since normal oxygen absorption will be impaired, oxygen should be administered.
Sedation will help with coughing, but (of course) should only be administered by a trained physician.
In the long term, lung damage will result in breathing difficulties (shortness of breath, tightness in the chest), and possible