Preventing chemical weapons as sciences converge

November 15, 2018, University of Bradford
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Alarming examples of the dangers from chemical weapons have been seen recently in the use of industrial chemicals and the nerve agent sarin against civilians in Syria, and in the targeted assassination operations using VX nerve agent in Malaysia and novichok nerve agent in the UK.

The threat of future attacks is exacerbated by the current unstable international system and also by the potential misuse of developments in science and technology. The States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention gathering in the Hague on 21st November for their 4th Review Conference must ensure the prohibition regime is fit to meet these challenges.

This argument is set out by three academics from the University of Bradford in a Policy Forum article titled 'Preventing as sciences converge' in the present issue of the internationally recognised journal Science Volume 362, Issue 6416. In the article Dr. Michael Crowley, Dr. Lijun Shang and Professor Malcolm Dando address key scientific aspects of the issues that the Conference will have to address to prevent the re-emergence of chemical weapons during this period of very rapid scientific change.

Dr. Michael Crowley said: "The unstable international security environment and the changing nature of armed conflict could fuel a desire by certain States to retain and use existing chemical weapons, as well as increase interest in creating new weapons. Tomorrow's weaponeers may well seek to harness the revolutionary advances in the chemical and life sciences and associated disciplines such as nanoscience and neuroscience for their malign ends. The international governmental and scientific communities must collectively review, update and strengthen the global measures in place to protect us all from chemical attack."

Professor Malcolm Dando said: "One area of growing concern has been State interest in the aerosolised application of a range of toxic chemical agents potentially including pharmaceutical chemicals, bioregulators, and toxins that attack the central nervous system of those targeted. Ostensibly promoted for use in extreme law enforcement scenarios, such as large scale hostage situations, to incapacitate an individual or a group rapidly and completely without causing permanent disability or fatality, their use in practice poses grave dangers to health and well-being of all those affected. Furthermore, research and development in this area potentially opens up the door to new forms of chemical and warfare."

Dr. Lijun Shang said "It is important to emphasise that scientists' work on the detection, protection and treatment of chemical weapons is important in the overall effort to prevent the misuse of toxic chemicals, but scientists also need to be more aware of the possible misuse of their benignly-intended work."

In their article the authors conclude that chemical and life scientists, health professionals and wider informed activist civil society need to play their part in protecting the prohibition of poison and chemical weapons. They must work with States to build effective and responsive measures to ensure that the rapid scientific and technological advances are safeguarded from hostile use and are instead employed for the benefit of all.

Explore further: How chemical weapons became taboo – and why they still are

More information: M. Crowley el al., "Preventing chemical weapons as sciences converge," Science (2018). science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi … 1126/science.aav5129

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KBK
5 / 5 (1) Nov 15, 2018
"nerve agent sarin against civilians in Syria"

that was not Assad.

It was ISIS cut-outs created and backed by the USA based covert operators.

and attempted to be blamed on Assad.

Over and over again.

Read, people. Get out there. don't read US news, it's all crap.

Like the university of Oregon tells you in their Media ownership study: over 275 news organizations (+95% of media) controlled by 6 entities, all run by people who attend the same temple.

Which is in total breach of existing RICO law in the USA. RICO, as it's used as a weapon against the us public and the government.

It is also in total breach of laws against concentration of media power, and corporate power.

But no, wait.

Bill Clinton singed those laws out of existence.... and Bush junior finished it off.

All one big happy family.

It is impossible for all US media to be unified in their hatred of Trump. Isn't it.

Think about it. Read about it. Find the data. You won't like it......
rrwillsj
4 / 5 (1) Nov 15, 2018
Well, KBK (KGB?), I noticed your cowardly rant never mentioned Russia. With their history of producing sarin. Manufacturing an arsenal of weapons with sarin warheads.

Using sarin against their own populations and globally as a weapon of assassination.

And among pimp putins stable of whores are to be found assad, and kim il-jong, the NRA executive committee, rohrbacher and trumpenella.

Don't sweat it about RICO.... Unless you are part of the trump crime family? Yah'll look mighty purty in them thar prison orange jumpsuits! With the Dr. Denton powerflap in the back to simplify paying your dues to which ever gang runs the cell block you'll be trapped in.

Hell. maybe Acting President Melanie will grant you a pardon?
theredpill
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 16, 2018
"
Well, KBK (KGB?), I noticed your cowardly rant never mentioned Russia. With their history of producing sarin. Manufacturing an arsenal of weapons with sarin warheads.

Using sarin against their own populations and globally as a weapon of assassination.

And among pimp putins stable of whores are to be found assad, and kim il-jong, the NRA executive committee, rohrbacher and trumpenella.

Don't sweat it about RICO.... Unless you are part of the trump crime family? Yah'll look mighty purty in them thar prison orange jumpsuits! With the Dr. Denton powerflap in the back to simplify paying your dues to which ever gang runs the cell block you'll be trapped in.

Hell. maybe Acting President Melanie will grant you a pardon?"

Dementia looks funny in writing....

rrrander
not rated yet Nov 17, 2018
I defy anyone to tell me the moral difference between lung damage from chemical weapons and getting half your face shot away by a bullet.
rrwillsj
not rated yet Nov 17, 2018
rrrander, If you want to discuss the morality of war, I would suggest starting with reading George Orwell.

As he predicted, our modern World is trapped in a constant cycle of induced violence. Just to prop up the nation-states and subsidize the obsolete munitions industries.

The Business of War is to profit the warmongers.
TrollBane
not rated yet Nov 17, 2018
Chemical weapons are by nature indiscriminate, whereas gunfire can be targeted towards active opposition only, and chemical weapons may have lingering potential for injury and make soil or water unusable for extended periods. Bullets don't poison the soil except in large quantities.
rrwillsj
not rated yet Nov 18, 2018
TB, I almost agree with you, until I see the depressing footage of civilian casualties. Steel & explosives are indiscriminate killers. Whether or not people are wearing a uniform.

Once people have dehumanized the other people? They will convince themselves that whatever violence they perpetrate against "them"? "Them" designated as the enemy of all that is holy & good? Violence is clearly justified.

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