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Chemical Warfare Weapons Fact Sheets
Tabun - GA Nerve Agent
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In 1936, Germany first developed Tabun as an insecticide. Dr. Gerhard Schrader first noticed the effects of nerve agents on humans when he and his lab assistant began to experience shortness of breath and contraction of the pupils. Tabun was the first nerve agent discovered. GA is a clear colorless and tasteless liquid with a slightly fruity odor.

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms are: runny nose; tightness of the chest; dimness of vision and pin pointing of the eye pupils; difficulty in breathing; drooling and excessive sweating; nausea; vomiting, cramps, and involuntary defecation and urination; twitching, jerking, and staggering; and headache, confusion, drowsiness, coma, and convulsions. These symptoms are followed by cessation of breathing and death. Symptoms appear much more slowly from a skin dosage than from a respiratory dosage. Although skin absorption great enough to cause death may occur in 1 to 2 minutes, death may be delayed for 1 to 2 hours. Respiratory lethal dosages kill in 1 to 10 minutes, and liquid in the eye kills almost as rapidly.


Inhalation: Hold breath until respiratory protective mask is donned. If severe signs of agent exposure appear (chest tightens, pupil constriction, in coordination, etc.), immediately administer, in rapid succession, all three Nerve Agent Antidote Kit(s), Mark I injectors (or atropine if directed by a physician). Injections using the Mark I kit injectors may be repeated at 5 to 20 minute intervals if signs and symptoms are progressing until three series of injections have been administered. No more injections will be given unless directed by medical personnel. In addition, a record will be maintained of all injections given. If breathing has stopped, give artificial respiration. Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation should be used when mask-bag or oxygen delivery systems are not available. Do not use mouth-to-mouth resuscitation when facial contamination exists. If breathing is difficult, administer oxygen. Seek medical attention Immediately.

Eye Contact: Immediately flush eyes with water for 10-15 minutes, then don respiratory protective mask. Although miosis (pinpointing of the pupils) may be an early sign of agent exposure, an injection will not be administered when miosis is the only sign present. Instead, the individual will be taken Immediately to a medical treatment facility for observation.

Skin Contact: Don respiratory protective mask and remove contaminated clothing. Immediately wash contaminated skin with copious amounts of soap and water, 10% sodium carbonate solution, or 5% liquid household bleach. Rinse well with water to remove excess decontaminant. Administer nerve agent antidote kit, Mark I, only if local sweating and muscular twitching symptoms are observed. Seek medical attention Immediately.

Ingestion: Do not induce vomiting. First symptoms are likely to be gastrointestinal. Immediately administer Nerve Agent Antidote Kit, Mark I. Seek medical attention Immediately.

Above Information Courtesy of United States Army

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