(2) Lewisite is much more dangerous in its liquid form than in its vapor form.
Liquid will cause severe burns of the eye and skin. Exposure can cause an immediate,
searing sensation in the eyes. Severe exposure of the eyes to lewisite can result in
permanent injury or blindness. Inhalation of vapor usually results in mild to moderate
irritation of the upper respiratory tract. Lewisite contains arsenic, a poison that attacks
the capillaries of the circulatory system, the liver, and the intestines. Acute poisoning
can result in hypovolemic shock and death.
(3) Phosgene oxime is a powerful irritant that produces immediate irritation
or pain upon contact. When the agent comes into contact with skin, the sensation
ranges from a mild, prickling sensation to a pain resembling that of a severe insect
sting. When the agent comes into contact with the mucous membranes of the eyes or
nose, an immediate and painful irritation is felt.
Incapacitating agents are designed to reduce military effectiveness by interfering
with the central nervous system without being fatal. Although the agents themselves
are not deadly except in very high concentrations, the agents may cause the casualty to
ignore dangers and accidentally injure himself and fellow soldiers. The effects of
incapacitating agents are temporary, but may last for hours to days.
a. Types of Incapacitating Agents. Incapacitating agents include central
nervous system depressants, such as 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate [incapacitating agent]
(BZ) and cannabinols, and central nervous system stimulants such as d-lysergic acid
b. Methods of Dissemination. Incapacitating agents are most likely to be
dispersed by smoke-producing munitions or aerosols.
c. Characteristics of Incapacitating Agents. Incapacitating agents may not
have identifying characteristics.
d. Absorption of Incapacitating Agents. Incapacitating agents normally enter
the body through the respiratory tract, but can also enter through the skin. The casualty
may not show signs and symptoms of exposure for several hours (up to 36 hours if
absorbed through the skin) after exposure.
e. Physiological Effects
(1) Central nervous system depressants interfere with the transmission of
information by the nerves. Three-quinuclidinyl benzilate [incapacitating agent] disturbs
the brain's higher functions of memory, problem solving, and comprehension.
Cannabinols interferes with the casualty's motivation rather than his ability to think.