Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 21, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963855 | Print ISBN: 9781412941860 | Online ISBN: 9781412963855| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Biological and Chemical Weapons
The ability to use certain biological and chemical agents as weapons is predicated on certain principles: The agent needs to be economically viable, it must be able to reach the target with limited collateral damage, and it must achieve the desired result. One additional element to make an element appealing as a weapon is the lack of treatment options or limited availability for antidotes, antibiotics, vaccines, active antibodies in immune globulin, or medications. Using these agents intentionally to cause harm and their release into the air, food, or water supply is bioterrorism, leaving first responders to identify whether an attack has occurred. During the Cold War, both the United States and the Soviet Union researched the possibility of using biological and chemical weapons. Terrorist attacks occurring within the last 30 years include the release of salmonella by the Rajneeshee Cult in Oregon into several salad bars and the water system ...