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Mustard Agent

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BY A SUN STAFF WRITER | January 19, 2003
The Army will meet with residents of Harford and Kent counties this week to update them on its plans to begin destruction March 3 of a chemical warfare agent that has been stockpiled at Aberdeen Proving Ground since World War II. The 1,621 tons of mustard agent -- a banned, carcinogenic liquid that blisters the eyes, skin and lungs -- will be destroyed two years ahead of the original schedule, said Kevin J. Flamm, project manager for alternative technologies...
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September 22, 2011
Nerve gas, mustard agent and Sarin are all words most of us would like to never hear pronounced. Along with biological agents and nuclear weapons, they are among the most sinister tools of modern warfare. So feared are they that they are banned under the Geneva Convention's rules of war and have rarely been used. On those occasions when they have been inflicted on populations, mostly by the Iraqi regime of more than a decade ago, the results have been horrifying, even compared to more conventional forms of warfare.
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NEWS
By Bruce Reid and Bruce Reid,Staff Writer | February 24, 1993
Legislation introduced in Annapolis could present serious obstacles for the Army's plan to incinerate Aberdeen Proving Ground's stockpile of lethal mustard agent.Although Army officials say they need to study the proposed bill before commenting in detail, they add that it appears to impose stricter permit and operating conditions than legislation already enacted in Kentucky and Indiana, where two other incinerators are planned to burn deadly chemical agents.The Kentucky law, passed last year, says that state shall not grant a permit for an incinerator unless the Army demonstrates that no safer treatment or disposal method "exists or could be developed."
NEWS
By Justin Fenton and Justin Fenton,Sun reporter | November 18, 2006
Three workers at Aberdeen Proving Ground were taken for medical observation yesterday after a laboratory vial containing dilute mustard agent broke, officials said. The Harford County military base's emergency personnel responded to an accident in a laboratory at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at 11:30 a.m. after a worker handling a small quantity of the blister agent was exposed, said George Mercer, a spokesman for APG. The worker was decontaminated and sent to an on-post medical clinic for observation, Mercer said.
NEWS
By Lane Harvey Brown and Lane Harvey Brown,SUN STAFF | September 14, 2003
Flaws discovered in Aberdeen Proving Ground's chemical agent destruction plant have pushed the project at least six months behind schedule and created work delays costing about $200,000 a day. Among the problems: false alarms, overheating equipment and a slow pace in cleansing containers that held the mustard agent. But military officials and the contractors hired for the project remain optimistic about the plant, which is the Army's first to destroy agent without using an incinerator.
NEWS
By Alan J. Craver and Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer | August 9, 1992
The U.S. Army and Greenpeace ended a community meeting Monday by agreeing to disagree on what to do with the military's aging stockpile of mustard agent.To the Army, plans to incinerate mustard agent should proceed until another method of disposal is available, although it could take a decade or more before such technology is developed.But to Greenpeace, any of the possible alternatives would be preferable to incineration, and it may be better to wait for the methods to be developed.Representatives of the Army and Greenpeace met at the session sponsored by the Committee for National Security, a Washington-based educational organization that works to inform the public on arms control and national security issues.
NEWS
By Lane Harvey Brown and Lane Harvey Brown,SUN STAFF | September 14, 2003
Flaws discovered in Aberdeen Proving Ground's chemical agent destruction plant have pushed the project at least six months behind schedule and created work delays costing about $200,000 a day. Among the problems: false alarms, overheating equipment and a slow pace in cleansing containers that held the mustard agent. But military officials and the contractors hired for the project remain optimistic about the plant, which is the Army's first to destroy agent without using an incinerator.
NEWS
By John Rivera and John Rivera,SUN STAFF | September 25, 1996
A National Research Council scientific panel has recommended that the Army begin a pilot program to neutralize 1,500 tons of highly toxic mustard agent stored at Aberdeen Proving Ground as an alternative to incineration.The 14-member panel had been asked by the Army to study and evaluate five technologies that could be alternatives to incinerating the chemical weapons, which is strongly opposed by residents living near APG.The NRC panel recommended that the Army try the neutralization-biodegradation process in which the mustard agent is neutralized by adding it to a reactor containing near-boiling water; that mixture is then mixed with sewer sludge from the Back River wastewater treatment plant for biodegradation.
NEWS
By David Herzog and David Herzog,Staff writer | September 23, 1990
Gov. William Donald Schaefer this week raised the hopes of Harford residents fighting a plan to burn chemical weapons agent at Aberdeen Proving Ground by asking the Army to re-think its plan for an incinerator at the base.In a letter dated Sept. 17 to Army Undersecretary John Shannon, Schaefer recommends the Army review its February 1988 decision to build an incinerator for burning mustard agent at the base's Edgewood Area, saying recent developments call the decision into question.Schaefer takes no specific position in the letter for or against burning mustard agent as part of the Army's chemical demilitarization program.
NEWS
By Lisa Respers and Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF | January 28, 1997
The Army gave its first glimpse yesterday of a plan to dispose of tons of mustard agent stored at Aberdeen Proving Ground -- a neutralization process that has cheered area residents.In a tour of the Edgewood area of the proving ground, Army officials gave a group including U.S. Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Paul S. Sarbanes a look at aging chemical stockpiles and a water-based process that might be used to neutralize the chemical weapons."This is really a pretty dramatic step forward in eliminating mustard gas," Sarbanes said after the tour.
NEWS
By JUSTIN FENTON and JUSTIN FENTON,SUN REPORTER | June 2, 2006
Two Aberdeen Proving Ground laboratory workers were sent to a Bel Air hospital yesterday after showing signs of possible exposure to nerve agent, the third incident involving the same tenant at the Harford County military base in the past two months. The incident occurred at 10:50 a.m. at the Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center, a 1.5 million-square-foot research and engineering laboratory for chemical and biological defense. A worker noticed that another's eyes had become dilated, a symptom associated with possible exposure to nerve agent.
NEWS
By LAURA BARNHARDT and LAURA BARNHARDT,SUN REPORTER | April 13, 2006
Three Aberdeen Proving Ground employees were sent to a post medical clinic for observation yesterday after a brief power failure might have exposed them to chemical warfare agents that they had been experimenting with, a spokesman for the Army facility said. The electrical problem was the second in as many days that could have exposed employees at the Harford County Army facility to deadly chemicals. Yesterday's power failure, reported just before 2 p.m., affected only four laboratories in the building, said George Mercer, an APG spokesman.
NEWS
By JUSTIN FENTON and JUSTIN FENTON,SUN REPORTER | December 25, 2005
Eight months after finally disposing of the last of its once-vast stockpile of deadly mustard agent at Aberdeen Proving Ground, the Army wants to bring to the base an artillery shell containing the blistering agent that was dumped in the ocean after World War I. Officials said the 10-pound, barnacle-encrusted ordnance, dredged up by a company collecting clams 20 miles off the coast of New Jersey, presents an opportunity to study the effects of deep-sea dumping...
NEWS
By Laura Barnhardt and Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF | March 12, 2005
As the last 30 gallons of mustard agent stockpiled for decades at the Aberdeen Proving Ground were dissolved yesterday, so were many of the fears among the people who live nearby. A surplus of more than 1,600 tons of mustard agent - best known for its lethal effects in the trench warfare of World War I - had been stored at the military proving ground in Harford County for more than 60 years. The stockpile, which occasionally leaked, prompted worries among area residents and strident debates about how best to dispose of the chemical warfare material.
NEWS
BY A SUN STAFF WRITER | August 19, 2004
A low-level leak of mustard agent has been detected in the same storage building at Aberdeen Proving Ground that reported similar discharges in June, the Army said yesterday. The Army, which operates the Harford County proving ground, said an alarm sounded at 12:45 p.m. indicating a low-level presence of mustard agent vapor inside the sealed storage structure that houses steel containers of the deadly chemical. No vapor was detected outside the building and at no time was there any danger to facility workers, the community or the environment, the Army said in a prepared statement.
NEWS
BY A SUN STAFF WRITER | June 29, 2004
Army specialists plan in the next few days to re-enter the building in the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground where a mustard agent leak was detected last week to start a thorough search for the cause. Officials said they expect to complete their risk assessment by midweek and then enter the sealed building and drape industrial plastic sheets over the containers that hold the mustard agent, a deadly chemical once used in weapons. "We will then place monitors under the sheets," said Mary Jo Civis, Edgewood chemical activity civilian executive, in a statement.
NEWS
By Tom Bowman and Tom Bowman,SUN STAFF | December 10, 1996
Some 1,500 tons of dangerous mustard agent stored at Aberdeen Proving Ground are expected to be destroyed by a method favored by residents: boiled and mixed with sludge until the blister agent turns into a byproduct less toxic than beer.Army officials are backing this process, known as neutralization-biodegradation, over an incineration option they favor. But Aberdeen-area residents fear incineration poses long-term health and safety risks."It's the Army's position to neutralize and biodegrade," said Mickey Morales, a spokesman for Aberdeen's stockpile disposal program.
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