RealNews

U.S. Official Warns of Chemical Threats

Nerve agents like VX and sarin gas are scary terrorist threats, but a top federal official is more worried about chemicals that travel the nation’s highways every day. “They are just as lethal,” said Jerry Hauer, acting assistant secretary for public health preparedness at the Department of Health and Human Services. After the 1995 release of sarin gas in a Tokyo subway by the Aum Shinrikyo cult, government officials focused attention on nerve gases, but now they are realizing the threat posed by chemicals that have legitimate uses in American industry, Hauer said in an interview Monday with The Associated Press. “I just believe that at the end of the day, it’s a lot easier getting something that’s available here in the United States than trying to sneak in sarin,” Hauer said. For instance, toxic industrial chemicals such as chlorine, phosgene and hydrogen cyanide are readily available. These are among the earliest chemical weapons and were used by troops in World War I. Today, they are commonly used in commercial manufacturing, and experts believe they could easily be used for terrorism. Full Story

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