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Humanity has invented a considerable number of biological and chemical weapons, most of which tend to be possessed by the major powers of the world. Similarly, some developing countries also use chemical and biological weapons to protect their interests. The use of such weapons is forbidden by international law and avoided in most cases since these weapons inflict a lot of damage. There have been regulations aimed at ensuring that manufacture and use of chemical and biological weapons are minimized; these regulations date back to 1925. However, the issue has not been addressed adequately; as a result, it has created some form of tension for the past few decades. When nations enter into the war and decide to use chemical and biological weapons, the conflict tends to escalate to the extent that self-destruction may happen (Garrett, 2009). The use of chemical and biological weapons has several extremely negative impacts. This research paper explores the effects of various biological and chemical weapons.
The Effects of Different Biological and Chemical Weapons
Biological and chemical weapons cause an illness or a disease that leads to death of people exposed to the chemical. In other cases, the chemical may make a person sick for a short or long time. In most instances, the release of biological weapons happens through the use of the aerosol sprays. The spray consists of a liquid; it contains a biological agent that becomes effective if inhaled by the victim. The effects of biological and chemical weapons range from physical, biological, to physiological ones. Some of the most notable physical influences of biological weapons include nuclear radiation, thermal radiation, and a blast. This intensity of these physical effects is determined by the amount of the chemical released, which is usually expressed in kilotons. The level of the effect also relates to the physical design of the weapon, which may be either enhanced or conventional (Shea, 2004).
Biological and chemical weapons may also have some physiological effects, which are caused by physical effects that may directly result from a blast. The physiological effects may also be caused by the ionizing radiation, thermal radiation, or be a product of both radiations. These radiations have an impact on human beings as they cause mass casualties, as well as injuries of different body tissues. Blast waves may be compressed and decompressed and consequently have different influence on the human body; they lead to the transmission of pressure waves within the body tissues. This may cause severe damage to the junctions between the muscle and bone. Other effects that may be felt as a result of these waves include injury to the gastrointestinal and lung systems. As a result, this can cause either air embolism, hemorrhage or both; these conditions can be fatal (Pike, 2013).
There are biological effects that may result from the use of different chemical and biological weapons during the warfare. The thermal radiation that the nuclear detonation emits may cause severe damages in a number of ways. There are two main ways, through which the thermal radiations may cause burns. One of the ways involves the absorption of the thermal energy directly via skin surfaces that may be exposed to them; this case entails the flash burns. The other way, through which burns may be caused by the thermal radiation, includes indirect actions involving fires in the environment; this instance mainly encompasses the flame burns. Of the two forms of radiation, indirect flames may cause severe injuries and more significant damages than any other injuries caused by the chemicals released by these weapons (Pike, 2013).
Apart from the mass casualties caused by the biological and chemical weapons, there may be some concerns brought about by these weapons. For instance, these weapons may lead to the contamination of those who respond first (for example, emergency vehicles), as well as contamination of the areas around which they have been released. The complex symptoms, which origin from the use of biological and chemical weapons, complicate the treatment process since it may not be easy to identify the agent causing the complications. Moreover, people tend to fear diseases, and this may lead to further poisoning and spread of the diseases related to chemical weapons (Cobb, 2000).
The different chemical and biological weapons used in war may also have an impact on the environment. These chemicals can be equated to the chemicals released by nuclear weapons. The weapons lead to the degradation of the environment and pollution of air to the moment that human life is threatened. To some extent, certain areas may become uninhabitable for months or even several years. The anthrax bacterium, for example, sporulates and this may lead to contamination of the soil by spores that may live there for about thirty years. Families may be displaced from their homes because of unfavorable weather conditions caused by the chemical weapons. The different biological and chemical weapons used in the war may also have an effect of complicating the response to emergencies. This is because the use of these weapons calls for the establishment of facilities that provide care and treatment to the victims. For example, there is a need to introduce facilities to be used for decontamination and protection of the first injured by the effects of the chemicals (Cobb, 2000).
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In conclusion, the use of chemical and biological weapons has severe effects, most of which compromise the health of the victims. Mass casualties may result from the use of chemical and biological weapons. Biological and chemical weapons also cause damage to the environment since they lead to pollution. In addition, the use of chemical and biological weapons complicates rescue operations and emergency services.