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Began developing in 1822 by Cesar-Mansuete Desperetez, who described the reaction of Sulfur Dichloride and Ethylene but NEVER mentioned any of the irritating properties of the product. In 1854 French chemist Alfred Riche repeated the procedure without mentioning the physiological properties. In 1860 Frederick Guthrie synthesized the compound and noted the irritating properties, especially those in tasting. The greatest accomplishment in the development of Mustard Gas cam in 1886 when Albert Niemann repeated Guthrie’s procedure but this time the blister-forming properties were recorded leading to Victor Meyer’s paper that described the good yields of the synthesis’. He purified the compound thus making the adverse health effects on exposure much more severe. In 1913 English chemist Hans Clarke replaced Phosphorus Trichloride with Hydrochloric Acid in Meyer’s recipe while working in Berlin. He was hospitalized after a broken beaker in the lab, thus setting the Germany on the chemical weapons path.
Mustard gas was first used effectively in World War 1 by the German army against British troops near Ypres in 1917 and then later on the French Second Army. Ally forces did not use mustard gas until Nov. 1917 at Cambrai, after capturing a large supply of German mustard gas shells. It took the British a year to develop their own mustard gas, which was first used in Sep. 1918 during the breaking of the Hindenburg Line. It was used as an incapacitating agent that was lethal in only 1% of reported cases. Mustard gas has been used repeatedly in other wars, most recently by Iraq against Iran in 1983-1988, and by Sudan in its civil war in 1995-1997.
Mustard gas victims rarely suffered immediate symptoms, and the areas it contanimated seemed normal; causing it's victims to recieve high dosages of the agent without even knowing. Within 24 hours the gas victims begin to have intense burning, itching, and skin irritation; which developed into larg blisters filled with yellow fluid. The exposed eyes would become sore: the eyelids would swell, causing temporary blindness. In concentrated areas the gas, if inhaled, would cause bleeding and sweeling in the respiratory system. The gas would also cause burns on the victim's skin, that could disfigure as bad as any 3rd degree burn. Victims who lived through all this hell would later have an increased risk of developing cancer.
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