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Agency Warns on Health Effects of Chemical Attack

Terrorist use of chemical weapons could have worse health effects than their use on the battlefield would, according to the European Medicines Evaluation Agency. In new guidance on treating people exposed to chemical agents, the agency said most experience was derived from battlefields, whereas exposure in buildings and other confined spaces — a more likely scene of terrorist attack — could be expected to be higher. “As the civilian population includes a large spectrum of ages including children and pregnant women as well as people who may already suffer from illness, a military medical management may not always apply fully to the civilian context,” the agency added in a statement on its Web site. The guidance lists the warfare agents most likely to be used and possible treatment and preventive measures. It stresses that the agents used by terrorists might contain impurities and that several agents could be mixed together. Full Story

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