Nerve Agent Sarin: All you need to know about Sarin toxic gas used in syria for chemical bombing

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Nerve Agent Sarin: All you need to know about toxic gas
Nerve Agent Sarin: All you need to know about toxic gas

New Delhi : Reports claim that dozens of people in Syria, including young children, were killed in a suspected nerve gas attack, renewing attention on the suspected agent, sarin gas.  It is a colorless, tasteless, odorless liquid that was first synthesized in Germany in 1938 as a potential pesticide.

“Sarin is 26 times more deadly than cyanide gas. Just a pinprick-sized droplet will kill a human," according to the World Health Organization.

What is Nerve Agent Sarin?

1. Sarin gas (O-Isopropyl methylphosphonofluoridate), also called GB, is one of the most dangerous and toxic chemicals known. It belongs to a class of chemical weapons known as nerve agents, all of which are organophosphates. 

2. Sarin, isopropyl methylphosphonofluoridate, with the American denomination GB, a volatile substance mainly taken up through inhalation.

3. Sarin is very soluble in water whereas other nerve agents are more sparingly soluble. 

4. Formulae for Nerve Agent Sarin: Sarin, GB: CH3-P(=O)(-F)(-OCH(CH3)2)

5. As a nerve gas, sarin in its purest form is estimated to be 26 times more deadly than cyanide. The LD50 of subcutaneously injected sarin in mice is 172 μg/kg.Treatment measures have been described

6. Sarin is highly toxic, whether by respiratory or dermal exposure. The toxicity of sarin in humans is largely based on calculations from studies with animals. 

7. The general consensus is that the lethal concentration of sarin in air is approximately 35 mg per cubic meter per minute for a two-minute exposure time by a healthy adult breathing normally (exchanging 15 liters of air per minute). 

What are the Sarin gas symptoms?

1. Immediate signs of sarin exposure include runny nose, watery eyes, constricted (or pinpoint) pupils, blurred vision, excessive sweating, chest tightness, rapid breathing and altered heart rate. 

2. Soon after, the victim has difficulty breathing and experiences nausea and drooling. As the victim continues to lose control of bodily functions, the victim vomits, defecates and urinates. 

3. Exposure to a large dose can cause loss of consciousness, convulsions, paralysis and respiratory failure that leads to death.

4. This phase is followed by twitching and jerking. Ultimately, the victim becomes comatose and suffocates in a series of convulsive spasms.

History Sarin as a weapon: 

Iraq produced sarin between 1984 and 1985, when weapons inspectors were ordered to leave the country. Prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq had admitted to once having at least 790 tons of the nerve agent. In 1987 and 1988, the United Nations confirmed that Iraq used a combination of organo-phosphorous nerve agents against Kurds in northern Iraq. It is estimated that 5,000 people were killed and 65,000 others were wounded in these attacks. There was also extreme environmental damage.