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Sarin and Soman On Trial

With news of the Syrian civil war hotly debated in the United States, many people may wonder just what Sarin is. This article charts the short history of the development of organophosphorus nerve gasses, shown to be cholinesterase inhibitors. The essential chemical elements of all nerve gasses are phosphorus, oxygen and usually, though not always, fluorine. As early as 1932, the physiological effects of compounds such as dimethylfluoro phosphoridate (I) were noted. Claiming they would be used as insecticides,  I. G. Farben scientists, specifically Gerhard Schrader (originally in the Bayer labs in Leverkuesen and later in Elberfeld), began experimenting with the essentials and as a result the firstnerve gas Tabun (II), was reported in 1936...

READ "Sarin and Soman on Trial" by Doug Neckers.

 

Additional Documents:

    Documents from the British Overseas Intelligence Service interviews with, and analysis of, chemical weapons stock in Germany immediately following World War II. 

    See also "The Beta-Chlorovinyl-Arsines and Their Derivatives" by W. Lee Lewis and H.W. Stiegler. 

    See also colleague Gordon Gribble's letter to the editor of Valley News (Hanover, NH) on "Nerve Gas Dumping" on August 22, 1970, and "The Short, Ugly History of Nerve Agents" on September 23, 2013.

    For more on disarmament of chemicals, read "Chemical Disarmament Won't Be Easy" from the New York Times (September 23, 2013).