Chemical weapons are classified as choking, blister, blood, nerve and riot control agents. The most recent use of chemical weapons involved sarin poisoning in a Japanese residential community and later on a Tokyo subway. Chemical warfare agents (CWA) may come in liquid, gas or solid form. They tend to have a unique odor or color. Depending on the type of CWA, it may lose effectiveness in a few minutes or hours, but some may persist for several weeks. Symptoms of exposure may appear immediately or within a few hours. Common methods of dispersion are munitions, bombs, projectiles, spray tanks and warheads. They are subject to temperature, humidity, wind and are difficult to deliver. Incidents tend to be confined to a small area of a mile or less. CWA are heavier than air and stay relatively close to the ground.
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