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Investigation of long-term hazards of chemical weapon agents in the environment of Sardasht area, Iran

, Asra Pirkhezranian, Negar Sehati, Mohammad Reza Hosseinzadeh, Seyed Yahya Salehi-Lisar, Hans Sanderson

Abstract: The present study aimed to investigate the persistence and existence of chemical warfare agents (CWAs) and related dissipation products in the environment of Sardasht area, Iran. Three types of environmental samples including water, soil, and native local plant materials were collected and analyzed. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry in the electron impact ionization mode has been developed for the separation, screening, identification, and qualification of chemicals after the sample preparation methods. The initial results revealed that no trace of related compounds or CWAs was detected in the soil and water samples. However, trace amounts of some degradation products of blistering agents like mustard gas (HD) and lewisite were found in a tree wood from a house subjected to chemical attack as well as in barley samples (a mixture of leaves and root) collected from an agricultural field in the area indicating chronic low exposure to the environment and people. In order to validate the applied extraction procedures, ethylene glycol was spiked to some of the samples including groundwater, surface soil, grape, and alfalfa plants. All the recoveries were in the range of 83.6–107.4% with the relative standard deviations varying from 4.9% to 12.4% (n = 3) successfully.
Keywords: Chemical warfare agents / Degradation / Environment / Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry / Mustard gas

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