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Proceedings Paper

Analytical technique to address terrorist threats by chemical weapons of mass destruction
Author(s): Patrick M. Dempsey
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Paper Abstract

Terrorism is no longer an issue without effect on the American mind. We now live with the same concerns and fears that have been commonplace in other developed and third world countries for a long time. Citizens of other countries have long lived with the specter of terrorism and now the U.S. needs to be concerned and prepared for terrorist activities.T he terrorist has the ability to cause great destructive effects by focusing their effort on unaware and unprepared civilian populations. Attacks can range from simple explosives to sophisticated nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Intentional chemical releases of hazardous chemicals or chemical warfare agents pose a great threat because of their ready availability and/or ease of production, and their ability to cause widespread damage. As this battlefront changes from defined conflicts and enemies to unnamed terrorists, we must implement the proper analytical tools to provide a fast and efficient response. Each chemical uses in a terrorists weapon leaves behind a chemical signature that can be used to identify the materials involved and possibly lead investigators to the source and to those responsible. New tools to provide fast and accurate detection for battlefield chemical and biological agent attack are emerging. Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) is one of these tools that has found increasing use by the military to respond to chemical agent attacks. As the technology becomes smaller and more portable, it can be used by law enforcement personnel to identify suspected terrorist releases and to help prepare the response; define contaminated areas for evacuation and safety concerns, identify the proper treatment of exposed or affected civilians, and suggest decontamination and cleanup procedures.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 January 1997
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 2933, Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Methods and Technologies, (6 January 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.263138
Show Author Affiliations
Patrick M. Dempsey, Viking Instruments Corp. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2933:
Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Methods and Technologies
Wade Ishimoto, Editor(s)

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