Policy ForumSCIENCE AND SECURITY

Preventing chemical weapons as sciences converge

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  16 Nov 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6416, pp. 753-755
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav5129

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Summary

Stark illustrations of the dangers from chemical weapons can be seen in attacks using toxic industrial chemicals and sarin against civilians and combatants in Syria and toxic industrial chemicals in Iraq, as well as more targeted assassination operations in Malaysia and the United Kingdom, employing VX and novichok nerve agents, respectively. Concerns about such malign applications of chemical technology are exacerbated by the unstable international security environment and the changing nature of armed conflict, “where borderlines between war, civil war, large-scale violations of human rights, revolutions and uprisings, insurgencies and terrorism as well as organized crime are blurred” (1). It is thus essential that the global community regularly review the nature and implications of developments in chemistry, and its convergence with the life and associated sciences, and establish appropriate measures to prevent their misuse. With the parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) convening a Review Conference to address such issues beginning 21 November 2018, we highlight important scientific aspects (2)