|Chemical Warfare Weapons Fact Sheets|
|Mustard - HD Blister Agent|
Although first synthesized in the 1800’s, the Germans first used mustard in 1917 during World War I. Mustard (liquid) is colorless when pure, but is normally a brown oily substance. Mustard (vapor) has a slight garlic- or mustard-like odor. Mustard remains a health hazard for an extended period of time. Mustard is a toxic agent that is considered non-lethal by the Army. However, complications from mustard exposure can lead to death.
Signs and Symptoms
An individual exposed to mustard will feel very little pain and will not notice symptoms for quite some time. However, the longer the exposure without removal of the mustard agent, the more severe will be the damage to affected areas of the body. Mustard is a blister agent that affects the eyes, lungs and skin. The eyes are very susceptible, reacting to very low concentrations from mustard. Exposure to mustard on the skin can range from redness and inflammation to severe blisters and extreme soreness. Inhalation of the agent will cause irritation of throat, tightness of chest, hoarseness and coughing. If medical treatment is not received in the early stages of contamination, severe bronchopneumonia with accompanying high fever can occur.
There is no known antidote for mustard exposure; the process of cellular destruction is irreversible. Therefore, it is very important to remove the mustard as quickly as possible. The best means of removal is by flushing with water and household bleach, or washing with soap and water after using an absorber of mustard, such as flour.
Above Information Courtesy of United States Army