Agent Identification - Chemical

Pulmonary (Choking) Agents

Pulmonary agents act by causing irritation or injury to the respiratory tract. Examples of this class are: chlorine, phosgene, PFIB (perfluoroisobutene a derivative of burned Teflon) and riot control agents or “tear gas”. Phosgene may smell like freshly mown grass or hay. It is a pulmonary and ophthalmic irritant which can progress to dyspnea, chest pain and most importantly delayed pulmonary edema. Treatment focuses on removal from the contaminated location, fresh air or oxygen and supportive respiratory support as needed and enforced rest (exertion can potentiate or aggravate pulmonary edema). Phosgene can occur as a byproduct of the burning of the coolant Freon.

Chlorine is considered one of the first modern age choking agents.  Industrial chemical releases involving railcar accidents have occurred in the United States requiring evacuations and treatment of exposures. (Chlorine  Conyers, Georgia 2004;  Anhydrous ammonia   Minot N.D. 2002)

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