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Suggested Citation:"Lethal Effects (LCt50)." National Research Council. 1997. Review of Acute Human-Toxicity Estimates for Selected Chemical-Warfare Agents. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5825.
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Page 59

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REVIEW OF ACUTE HUMAN-TOXICITY ESTIMATES FOR HD 59 7— Review of Acute Human-Toxicity Estimates for HD HD ( - '-dichloroethyl sulfide or bis(2-chloroethyl)sulfide), also known as sulfur mustard, is a vesicant (blistering agent). The physical and chemical properties, toxicokinetics, and toxicity of sulfur mustard are discussed in detail by CDEPAT (1994), Marrs et al. (1996), and Somani (1994). Human-toxicity estimates have been derived for percutaneous vapor exposures, vapor inhalation exposures, and for percutaneous liquid exposures. Only a few toxicity end points were considered. End points of toxicity that were considered are lethality, vesication, erythema, burns on the skin, and ocular and pulmonary effects. The subcommittee's assessment of the scientific validity of CDEPAT's human-toxicity estimates for HD is discussed below. PERCUTANEOUS VAPOR EXPOSURE Lethal Effects (LCt50) CDEPAT's proposed LCt50 estimate for percutaneous exposure to HD vapor is 5,000 mg-min/m3, assuming exposure durations of 30 to 50 min. The existing estimate is 10,000 mg-min/m3 (CDEPAT 1994).

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No reliable acute-exposure1 standards have been established for the particular purpose of protecting soldiers from toxic exposures to chemical warfare (CW) agents. Some human-toxicity estimates are available for the most common CW agents--organophosphorus nerve agents and vesicants; however, most of those estimates were developed for offensive purposes (that is, to kill or incapacitate the enemy) and were intended to be interim values only. Because of the possibility of a chemical attack by a foreign power, the Army's Office of the Surgeon General asked the Army's Chemical Defense Equipment Process Action Team (CDEPAT) to review the toxicity data for the nerve agents GA (tabun), GB(sarin), GD (soman), GF, and VX, and the vesicant agent sulfur mustard (HD) and to establish a set of exposure limits that would be useful in protecting soldiers from toxic exposures to those agents. This report is an independent review of the CDEPAT report to determine the scientific validity of the proposed estimates.

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