Proceedings Of The Marine

SPR 2015

Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.

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93 Spring 2015 Proceedings Moreover, the location involved in a release of mustard gas, whether on a vessel or ashore, is a "hot zone." Immediately notify the U.S. Coast Guard and local f rst responders for direct assistance. First responders are also at risk for exposure and must be trained to use the correct personal protective equipment to enter the affected area. Use high-level protection to pre- vent respiratory, skin, and ocular exposure, including a full face piece, self-contained breathing apparatus, encapsulated chemical/vapor suits, and butyl rubber chemical-resistant gloves. Ocular exposure also typically occurred through exposure to mustard gas vapor. Damage to the cornea can result in permanent blindness. In all cases, the severity of injury is dose-dependent. Mustard Gas Treatment In most cases, even today, lack of immediate pain associ- ated with exposure often results in increased exposure time, increasing the long-term severity of the injury. Additionally, victims of low-dose mustard gas exposure may not show symptoms for up to 24 hours. If you are knowingly exposed, immediately remove contam- inated clothing and rub the skin with dirt, powder, or other absorbent materials to remove any chemical that has not yet penetrated. The impact of mustard gas on tissue is almost immediate — one has only one to two minutes after expo- sure before nothing can be done to remove the mustard. Following the noted decontamination tasks, seek immediate medical care. Dumped Chemicals Munitions were dumped throughout at least 26 disposal sites off 11 states, between 60 to 100 miles offshore. The documentation rarely provides the pre- cise locations of these sites, or the exact identity of what was dumped in each. Although the documents date back to World War II, this practice began in World War I; any disposals that were made prior to 1944 are undocumented. Reprinted with permission from the Daily Press Media Group. Chemical of the Quarter Fluid-f lled blister on a f sh- erman who was accidentally exposed to sulfur mustard after handling discarded WWI munitions trawled from the sea bed off the coast of New England.  1 Dumped chemical weapons include: • Arsenic trichloride, which reacts with water to produce hydrochloric acid, an extremely corrosive chemical that can cause irreversible damage to exposed tissues. • Hydrogen cyanide, which forms cyanide ion in solution, a chemical that halts mitochondrial respi- ration, causing suf ocation. Cyanide is extremely potent; as little as 300 mg/m^3 can kill a human within 10 to 60 minutes. • Lewisite is a vesicant (blistering agent) and lung irri- tant. • Mustard gas is a vesicant. There are several varieties of mustard agents of dif ering chain lengths. • Nerve gas functions by inhibiting the action of acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme present in the neuromuscular junction, resulting in continual muscle stimulation and rigid paralysis. Some nerve agents include VX, soman, tabun, and sarin. • Phosgene, like arsenic trichloride, can react with water to produce hydrochloric acid. • White phosphorus is a form of elemental phos- phorus. It is an ex tremely ef fective smoke- producing agent, and it is legally produced for this use even today. However, exposure to the body results in deep burn wounds; the burning cannot be extinguished without complete removal of oxygen.

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