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Phosgene oxime: Injury and associated mechanisms compared to vesicating agents sulfur mustard and lewisite.

Toxicology Letters 2018 September 2
Phosgene Oxime (CX, Cl2 CNOH), a halogenated oxime, is a potent chemical weapon that causes immediate acute injury and systemic effects. CX, grouped together with vesicating agents, is an urticant or nettle agent with highly volatile, reactive, corrosive, and irritating vapor, and has considerably different chemical properties and toxicity compared to other vesicants. CX is absorbed quickly through clothing with faster cutaneous penetration compared to other vesicating agents causing instantaneous and severe damage. For this reason, it could be produced as a weaponized mixture with other chemical warfare agents to enhance their deleterious effects. The immediate devastating effects of CX and easy synthesis makes it a dangerous chemical with both military and terrorist potentials. Although CX is the most potent vesicating agent, it is one of the least studied chemical warfare agents and the pathophysiology as well as long term effects are largely unknown. CX exposure results in immediate pain and inflammation, and it mainly affects skin, eye and respiratory system. There are no antidotes available against CX-induced injury and the treatment is only supportive. This review summarizes existing knowledge regarding exposure, toxicity and the probable underlying mechanisms of CX compared to other important vesicants' exposure.

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