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Mustard (Sulfur Mustard): Lewisite, Blister Agents (H, HD, HS)

Mustard (Sulfur Mustard): Lewisite, Blister Agents (H, HD, HS)

TREATMENT

Chemical Treatment Guide 1: YELLOW

DESCRIPTION

Mustard is a “blister agent” that causes cell damage and destruction. It is a colorless to light
yellow to dark brown oily liquid with the odor of garlic, onion, or mustard. It does not evaporate
readily, but may pose a vapor hazard in warm weather. Mustard is a vapor and liquid hazard to
skin and eyes, and a vapor hazard to airways. Its vapor is five times heavier than air.
Sulfur mustard has been used as a research tool to study DNA damage and repair. A variety of
military munitions are filled with mustard, including projectiles, mortars, and bombs. Mustard
damages DNA in cells, which leads to cellular damage and death. It penetrates the skin and
mucous membranes very quickly, and cellular damage begins within minutes.
Lewisite is a “blister agent” that has the same effect on the body as mustard; with the exception
that onset of symptoms begins immediately.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

Mustard: Clinical effects begin within 2 to 24 hours. The initial effects include the following
issues:

Eyes: itching or burning, redness, corneal damage.
Skin: erythema with itching and burning, blisters.
Respiratory tract: epistaxis, hoarseness, sinus pain, dyspnea, and cough.
Lewisite: same effect on the body as mustard, with the exception that onset of symptoms begins
immediately.

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