Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What is Sarin and Why is it Banned?

There's been a lot of talk about sarin on the news recently, and how the Syrian government has been using this banned chemical weapon against anti-government forces and civilians.
So, what exactly is sarin? What happens when someone comes into contact with it, and why has the international community banned it?

Well, sarin is a man-made nerve gas. The Germans developed it in the 1938, originally as a pesticide. Now, it's a type of chemical weapon, and its hundreds of times more toxic than cyanide. In the military world, it's codenamed GB.One of the most infamous uses of sarin gas was back in 1995, when someone released it in the Tokyo subway system. 13 people died, and thousands more were injured.

The way sarin works is that it attacks your nerve cells and how they communicate with one another. This basically means you lose neurologic control, and this can cause seizures, loss of vision, change in blood pressure and in serious cases it can even cause death from suffocation. As you can imagine, it's a very painful way to die.

And the worst part is that, as a liquid, sarin is odorless, colorless and tasteless, so until you start to feel the effects, you won't even know what hit you. As a gas it is also undetectable and it doesn't need much for it to be deadly.

The good thing is that there is an antidote, but only if you haven't been exposed to too much, and you get the treatment in time.
In 1993, the United Nations Chemical Weapons Convention banned sarin as a "weapon of mass destruction". All except five countries in the world have signed that convention, and yes, Syria is one of the countries.

Now the Syrian government is denying they've used it, but there has been mounting evidence, including personal accounts by those attacked, that suggests sarin or a nerve gas like it, has been used.
That's why the international community is thinking of military intervention and Western powers, including the US, are thinking about taking military action against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

Well, there you have it, the low down on this rather scary chemical weapon. Do you guys think other countries should intervene if the Syrian regime has used sarin against its people? Let us know in the comments below, and check out these other videos.