poison gas


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poison gas,

any of various gases sometimes used in warfare or riot control because of their poisonous or corrosive nature. These gases may be roughly grouped according to the portal of entry into the body and their physiological effects. Vesicants (blister gases) produce blisters on all body surfaces (see lewisitelewisite
, liquid chemical compound used as a poison gas. Like mustard gas and nitrogen mustard, it is a blistering agent; when inhaled, it is a powerful respiratory irritant.
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; mustard gasmustard gas,
chemical compound used as a poison gas in World War I. The burning sensation it causes on contact with the skin is similar to that caused by oil from black mustard seeds.
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); lacrimators (tear gastear gas,
gas that causes temporary blindness through the excessive flow of tears resulting from irritation of the eyes. The gas is used in chemical warfare and as a means for dispersing mobs.
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) produce severe eye irritation; sternutators (vomiting gases) cause nausea; nerve gasesnerve gas,
any of several poison gases intended for military use, e.g., tabun, sarin, soman, and VX. Nerve gases were first developed by Germany during World War II but were not used at that time.
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 inhibit proper nerve function; and lung irritants attack the respiratory tract, causing pulmonary edema. By the middle of the 19th cent. the possibility of the use of poison gas as a weapon was already envisaged and was viewed by most people with a peculiar horror—a feeling that has persisted. The first effective use of poison gas came in World War I, when the Germans released (1915) chlorine gas against the Allies in the Ypres sector of the Western Front. The success was immediate, but the attackers, uncertain as to the effect, failed to pursue the retreating French. Shortly afterward protective measures (see gas maskgas mask,
face covering or device used to protect the wearer from injurious gases and other noxious materials by filtering and purifying inhaled air. In addition to military use (see chemical warfare), gas masks are employed in mining, in industrial chemistry, and by firemen and
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) were introduced as both sides used gas more extensively. The gas shell (much more suitable than wind-blown gas) was introduced by the French. Gas did not have any dominant influence on the course of the war, but it did seem to point toward wide-scale use in the future. However, except for the use of poison gas by the Italians in the war against Ethiopia (1935–36) and by the Japanese against Chinese guerrillas (1937–42), poison gas was not employed in warfare after World War I out of fear of retribution, even though the military powers of the world continued to develop new gases. Poison gas was used in the Iran-Iraq War, and Iraq under Saddam Hussein used poison gas on its own civilians, in particular the Kurds. In the Persian Gulf War, the UN troops were equipped with antidotes for nerve gas, protective clothing, and gas masks in case Iraq used poison gas. Poison gas also has been used during the Syrian civil war (2010s). The 1989 treaty between the United States and the USSR provided for an end to production of poison gas and the beginning of destruction of current stockpiles. See also chemical warfarechemical warfare,
employment in war of incendiaries, poison gases, and other chemical substances. Ancient armies attacking or defending fortified cities threw burning oil and fireballs. A primitive type of flamethrower was employed as early as the 5th cent. B.C.
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.

poison gas

[′pȯiz·ən ′gas]
(materials)
A substance employed in chemical warfare to disable enemy troops; may be a gas, or a liquid or solid that gives off a gas. An example is mustard gas.
References in periodicals archive ?
The post Syria: US strike hit IS poison gas depot, killed hundreds appeared first on Cyprus Mail .
Those who worked most closely with chemical weapons tended to believe that anti-gas sentiment was misguided and that, over time, the use of poison gas would become acceptable, just as the use of bayonets, bullets, and bombs had.
In mid-August there were United Nations inspectors in Damascus to look into two much smaller attacks earlier in 2013 that seemed to involve poison gas.
The announcement cames one day ahead of the November 1 deadline set by the Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for Damascus to destroy or "render inoperable" all chemical weapon production facilities and machinery for mixing chemicals into poison gas and filling munitions.
It did not matter that the Americans already had good evidence of previous poison gas assaults, albeit in remote areas, away from international gaze.
Though the postwar prohibition on the use of poison gas is now well known, the Hague Convention of 1899 had already banned the use of poisons in warfare.
He is wrong to see poison gas as a comparable threat: it is horrible and illegal, but it really isn't a 'weapon of mass destruction' in the same sense at all.
Count me with the activists on the question of whether the United States should respond to the Syrian regime's murder of some 1,400 civilians, more than 400 of them children, with poison gas.
Stewart played a tape of President Barack Obama urging military action against Syria because of last month's poison gas attack.
In July 1944 (wrote Stanford University history professor Barton J Bernstein), Churchill told his chief-of-staff General Hastings Ismay: "I want you to think very seriously over the question of poison gas.
The US had seemed to be gearing up for a strike against President Bashar al-Assad's forces over an Aug 21 poison gas attack, but is now seeking Congressional approval first.
The inspectors have spent the week visiting rebel-controlled areas on the outskirts of Damascus after reports of a poison gas attack last week that the opposition blames on President Bashar al-Assad.