Definitions - Chemical Weapons

Chemical weapons, usually man-made, capitalize on the physical properties of chemicals and their physiological consequences. Exposures via these weapons may occur via inhalation, dermal, or ingested means. These weapons may exist in powder, liquid or vaporous forms and the resultant effects will depend on the specific properties of the agent, the concentration, and the route of exposure.

Medical response to chemical weapons also requires self protection of the rescuer/responders and hospital personnel including knowledge of means and ways to avoid contamination.  This will be further discussed in the Personal Protective Equipment section of this module.

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