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Monday, February 27, 2006

How Do You Dispose of 6400 Tons of Mustard Agent?

Well, if you're the U.S. Army, you burn it:

Incineration is the only method being considered for destroying more than 6,400 tons of mustard agent at the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (TCDF) according to a senior executive for the U.S. Army at TCDF.
...
[The Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah] would prefer that the Army use a neutralization method to destroy the agents. "Neutralization is a safe, proven method for destruction of mustard agents. Its low temperatures prevent the formation of dioxins, and heavy metals like mercury can be segregated from the waste stream and not released into the air," reads the press release.

Neutralization was used by the Army to destroy a mustard agent stockpile in Aberdeen, MD.

Read the rest at the Tooele Transcript Bulletin Online [Link]. Even to the casual observer (and I'm among them) this is a reprehensible plan. Chemical neutralization, i.e. converting the chemical weapon into a more disposable form, is the safe alternative. If the Army goes along with the current plan, they might as well dump a few tons of mercury into the Great Salt Lake for good measure.