Kansas toxicologist gives deadly consequences of sarin gas

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KANSAS CITY, Kansas (KSHB) – While sarin gas is what many world leaders believe Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used on his people in a late August attack, the weapon itself is described by a local doctor as, “Probably the purest form of evil as warfare can be.”

Doctor Stephen Thornton is the Director of Poison Control at the University of Kansas Hospital and the only toxicologist in the state of Kansas.

He says it only takes a drop of the gas to kill an adult.

“It’s very easy to weaponize, meaning that you can just disperse it and it becomes a gas and it’s very easy for that gas to go places and kill people,” Thornton said.

Thornton said it’s easy to get to because it exists in many parts of the world as an insecticide that can be transformed into something much more potent.

It’s a clear, tasteless and odorless agent that attacks the nerves and leaves its victims paralyzed and dying from asphyxia.

“It basically makes your nervous system go crazy,” Thornton said. “It turns everything on and so people start having seizures, they start vomiting and get diarrhea. They start basically drowning in their own secretions.”

He says most victims die within minutes of having contact with the gas. It can be absorbed through the skin, eyes or into the lungs.

Victims can survive a gas attack but it depends on how much exposure they have and how quickly they are treated.

House Speaker John Boehner and Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham have all given their support to President Obama in an attack on Syria while Representatives Justin Amash of Michigan, Scott Rigell of Virginia and Congresswoman Barbara Lee are just some of the lawmakers against an attack.


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