Paper Example: The Properties of Various Agents

Published: 2023-01-13
Paper Example: The Properties of Various Agents
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Violence Intelligence services Terrorism National security
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1479 words
13 min read

In a history class, we usually learn that 911 was the most devastating terrorist attack on American soil, more than 3000 American souls lost their lives in this tragedy. Thus starting a manhunt by the United States Government and army for the main perpetrator, 'Osama Bin Laden' of the attack instigating the American army to go to Iraq and Afghanistan in search of him and his infamous terror group 'Al-Qaeda'. But today we are not in a history class or working in intelligence, rather we want to learn about the agents that usually used to make dirty bombs by groups such as the Al-Qaeda. We start with defining or knowing what the hell is, 'Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear' (CBRNE), this are explosives of high yield. Their purpose mostly is used as weapons, mass casualties and mass disruption of society are what these weapons are capable of. With that short narrative about the use of CBRNEs, we can now expound on threats posed and historical development in the agents' whereabouts and destruction of human life.

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Emergency Measures

Having looked at the definition of CBRN agents, we can now concern ourselves yet another way of preventing a terror attack in the U.S and how the government is working tirelessly to overall improve the preparation of future attacks. Like for instance if there is a terror attack an emergency TV or radio broadcast will be an efficient way of learning about it. Yet another way is by an emergency notification through your phone through an application known as 'AlertSCC' and something crucial here is if you're signed up. Or specific instructions may come straight to your doorstep by some emergency response workers.

Biological Agents

This form of a terror attack may not feel like any other form, for it is not like an explosion and this is mainly because it is not felt right away by the intended targets. Unlike a biological attack the now infamous 'anthrax mailings' where signs of biological attacks were seen. The most likely scenario in this form is, a pattern of unusual illness reported to authorities by a local health care staff or a flood of people who are ill looking for emergency medical attention. Here are some examples of 'biological agents; plague, botulism, tularemia, anthrax, smallpox, and viral hemorrhagic fever.

Chemical Agents

This form of contamination can usually be caused by an intentional release or an accident, accident contamination can be caused when toxic chemicals are released by industrial tank's crash and release the poison. On the other hand, a release which is intentional may be caused by a group or individuals who may use this toxic gas, solid or liquid to poison people or the environment (Ramesh,2010). And how can someone know there is a chemical terror attack, it may be a series of things like individuals distress from twitching, having trouble breathing, watery eyes, losing coordination or some may even choke. There are also elements that may spread these chemical agents and these may be sick or dead fowls, also fly-fish or some lesser creatures may raise suspicion and it may be a cause to raise alarm. Some examples of the agents, sulfur mustard, sarin, ricin, lewsite or chlorine.

Radiological Agents

This type of attack is the better-known form, when a radiation emergency could be in some way a 'dirty bomb' or if it is accidental when a nuclear reactor misbehaves and then goes further to contaminate a specific area with radioactive materials. Every day people can be seen to be exposed to radiation of small amounts. These may be due to both natural sources (examples of elements in the soil or the solar cosmic rays) and then man-made sources which include (electronics: microwave ovens and TV sets, medical sources; diagnostic tests and treatments x-rays ) and also nuclear weapons testing. The amount of radiation emergency (terrorist attack or accident from a nuclear power plant). These radiations that are mostly emergencies of which the amounts that exposed to people are often in small amounts and then will further expose small or large doses of radiation to people depending on the condition. Here are some examples of this type of radiological agents; dirty bomb, nuclear bomb, shelter in place or evacuation.

Chemical Warfare Agent

This is agents which can be said to be synthetic compounds and low in molecular weight and can be abbreviated as (CWAs). These CWAs are sometimes lethal and fast-acting even at low levels plus properties that are physical in nature can be classified into volatile nerve gases, gaseous chocking agents, gaseous blood agents, volatile blister agents, nonvolatile lacrimators and nonvolatile vomit agents (Munro, 1999). Chemical weapons are mass destruction weapons where the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) have relentlessly sought after strict controls on the type of weapon. There are certain articles of the CWC of which deal with the peaceful use of the chemicals and prohibition, an international convention that the CWC functions as although this particular convention does not deal with terrorist activities connected with the use of CWs.

Safety and Disposal

The CWCs are exceptionally lethal and hazardous composites, they can only be cast off by trained professionals and usage of designated laboratories or with sanitization and safe handling procedures and with medical support contacted immediately. Operating procedures commonly known as (SOPs) must be standard and safe have to be established and permitted afore handling of these organic warfare agents (Talmage,2007). Used only in laboratory chemical hoods, chemical warfare agents can have a surface velocity minimum of (100 linear feet per minute) with control strategies which are equipped with a border exhaust concentration to below 0.0001 mg m(-3). The attire to be worn by this personnel are rubber gloves, full, and lab coats plus a respirator (i.e a gas mask) so there is safety for handling the CWCs and these things must always be kept within easy to get to the position. For our last safety measure, before commencing all this operations decontaminants a sufficient number must be on hand to destroy all organic conflict agents. Disposing of these organic conflict agents which are decontaminated must be naturally approved ways rendering to the local statute.

Epidemiology of Chemical Warfare Agents

In all past memory, these CWCs have always been used in war or by the military, it is only in recent times two decades to be in particular that increase in attention has been positioned on the chronic and severe well-being effects to these agents contact that has the CWCs been associated to. Examples can be witnessed with, 'The Gulf War of 1991' and how it was followed by ill-defined diseases reports in the soldiers who participated in the conflict. Another example is 'Sarin terrorist attack of 1995' in the Japanese subway system, employed courtesy on inadvertent acquaintance to organic conflict agents which leads to subsequent disability and significant human death (Hu, H.,1989). There are many challenges faced by epidemiological studies of CWCs to determine the exposure of these agents, other than the Japanese terror attack little can be seen to have been done on population exposure to these harmful substances.

Chemical Weapons Treaty

There is a 'Geneva protocol' that prevents the practice of biological or chemical artilleries in warfare, being an international treaty and meant to be followed by all countries in the globe is a little jarring because not much is being done about the offenders. It was initially known as, "The Protocol of the Use in War of Asphyxiating Poisonous or other Gases and the Bacteriological Methods of Warfare" back on June 17, 1925, in Geneva where it was signed as international law but it was rather entered into law on February 8, 1928 (Baxter, 1970).


In summary, we can firmly say that the hazards and threat awareness security measures have been put in place for the general protection of the population. We can all confirm seeing CCTV monitors in our airports and also the screening of passengers leaving and entering certain locations. There is the technology of commercial detection that is put available for suitability use in a security context and the maturity of the technologies should be investigated before purchasing of the items.


Baxter, R. R., & Buergenthal, T. (1970). Legal aspects of the Geneva Protocol of 1925. American Journal of International Law, 64(5), 853-879.

Hu, H., Cook-Deegan, R., & Shukri, A. (1989). The use of chemical weapons: conducting an investigation using survey epidemiology. JAMA, 262(5), 640-643.

Munro, N. B., Talmage, S. S., Griffin, G. D., Waters, L. C., Watson, A. P., King, J. F., & Hauschild, V. (1999). The sources, fate, and toxicity of chemical warfare agent degradation products. Environmental health perspectives, 107(12), 933-974.

Talmage, S. S., Watson, A. P., Hauschild, V., Munro, N. B., & King, J. (2007). Chemical warfare agent degradation and decontamination. Current Organic Chemistry, 11(3), 285-298.

Ramesh, A. C., & Kumar, S. (2010). Triage, monitoring, and treatment of mass casualty events involving chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear agents. Journal of Pharmacy and Bioallied Sciences, 2(3), 239.

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