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The down and dirty about nerve agents like sarin


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Q: Is there a treatment?

A: Yes, if doses are low enough and you catch it in time. There is a dual chemical injection shot that many people in the military carry with them and it must be used quickly. Also if you think you are exposed, you need to remove your clothes and wash thoroughly. The injection of the antidote is complicated. Atropine must be injected every 5 to 10 minutes until secretions stop and the other chemical, pralidoxime chloride only has to be injected a couple times, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Q: Has sarin been used much in the past?

A: The most famous sarin attack was a 1995 terror attack on the Tokyo subway that killed 13 people and injured about 6,000 people.

Q: How do you get rid of the stuff?

A: Experts say nerve gas has to be disposed of properly in locations with high temperatures and controls to keep gas from escaping to minimize the risk of accidentally gassing other people.

Q: So how can the U.S. military destroy Syria’s nerve gas supplies?

A: "Several of the options that are being discussed for military intervention have downside risks," said Amy Smithson, a chemical weapons expert at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies. "Bombing the (weapons storage) site risks releasing the chemicals over nearby population." Making matters worse, Syrian President Bashar Assad has threatened to use the weapons if attacked, she said.




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