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Why bother about chemical and biological weapons?

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This presentation was given by Professor Alastair Hay (University of Leeds) at a meeting on Ethics and Risk, organised by the HEA STEM Special Interest Group in teaching ethics to bioscience students. …

This presentation was given by Professor Alastair Hay (University of Leeds) at a meeting on Ethics and Risk, organised by the HEA STEM Special Interest Group in teaching ethics to bioscience students. The meeting was held at the University of Northampton in March 2013.

Warning: this series of slides contains some unpleasant images of the effects of chemical and/oe biological weapons

Published in: Education, Business

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  • 1. 1 Why bother about chemical and biological weapons ? Teaching Ethics to Bioscience Students Northampton 26 March 2013 Alastair Hay
  • 2. 2 Chemical Weapons Convention: Educational and Outreach Challenges • Relevance to and ownership by students and teachers in many countries – “CWC is someone else’s responsibility” • Concerns of negative impact on public image of chemistry • Knowledge base of chemistry teachers at all levels about the issue • Little formal attention to ethical issues in curriculum • Remoteness of CWC structure to educational system
  • 3. 3 Approach • Place chemical and biological weapons in a larger context – multi-use chemicals • Start with beneficial aspects of multi-use chemicals, move to mis-use and abuse • Target chemists and chemistry educators in the domain of influence of IUPAC and OPCW • Pilot materials with educators, evaluate from the beginning to refine materials and approaches • Deliver materials over the web • Address language issues • Enlist partners for broad dissemination
  • 4. 4 Multiple Uses of Chemicals A Chemical Plant
  • 5. 5 Multiple Uses of Chemicals A Chemical Plant
  • 6. 6 Misuse of Chemicals ephedra extracts banned as diet supplements in several countries Triple Stack Epehedra Caffeine Aspirin (ASA)
  • 7. 7 CH CH CH3 NH CH3 OH pseudoephedrine (cough suppressant) CH2 CH CH3 NH CH3 methamphetamine (crystal meth)
  • 8. 8 Production of Crystal Meth
  • 9. 9 Export Industry
  • 10. 10 Multiple-Use Chemicals • Choices about the beneficial use, misuse, or abuse of these multi-use materials lie in our hands.
  • 11. 11 Role for Science Education? Break-Out Session • Access to information • Diversion of readily available materials • Whose responsibility? • Understanding and owning ethical responsibility • Other examples
  • 12. 12 S CH2CH2OHHOCH2CH2 thiodiglycol S CH2CH2ClClCH2CH2 mustard gas Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Chemical & Biological Weapons Water-based dyes in cloth manufacturing industry, including rural industries in developing countries
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  • 24. 27 Chemical and Biological Weapons: Role for Science Education ? • Access to information • Diversion of readily available materials • Whose responsibility? • Understanding and owning ethical responsibility • Other examples
  • 25. 28 Where we are now • Project complete • http://www.iupac.org/multiple-uses-of- chemicals • Material – text and pictures • Also 4 background papers in 6 languages • Room for more • Comments welcome! – Alastair Hay (a.w.m.hay@leeds.ac.uk) – Peter Mahaffy (peter.mahaffy@kingsu.ca)
  • 26. Biological Warfare Catapults, bombs and salad bars
  • 27. Biological Agents ‘weaponized’ by the US prior to 1969 ● Anthrax ● Venezualan Equine Encephalomyelitis ● Q Fever ● Yellow Fever ● Tularaemia ● Brucellosis ● Rice blast ● Black stem rust of cereals
  • 28. 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) ● Limits quantities of biological agents retained ● Permits use of agents for peaceful, prophylactic and defence purposes ● No inspections
  • 29. SovietUnion/ Russia Significant research programme on biological warfare, extent of which is unknown. ? Weaponisation of agents Approx 70 deaths from release of anthrax from military research facility.
  • 30. UNSCOM in Iraq Inspections revealed: ● Programme started 1974 ● Weaponization of: anthrax; botulinal toxin; aflatoxin ● Work on other bacteria/viruses
  • 31. South Africa – Project Coast Limited outcome. Assassination weapons: ● Anthrax – contaminated cigarettes ● Botulinal toxin in beer Others: ● Cholera to contaminate water (SWAPO targeted) ● Anti-fertility vaccine for use on black South Africans
  • 32. Osho a.k.a. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
  • 33. Epidemic curve for 22 cases of bioterrorism- related anthrax, United States, 2001 = inhalational anthrax case 0 2 4 6 17-Sep 21-Sep 25-Sep 29-Sep 03-O ct 07-O ct 11-O ct 15-O ct 19-O ct 23-O ct 27-O ct 31-O ct 04-Nov 08-Nov 12-Nov 16-Nov Symptom Onset Dates, September - November, 2002 NumberofCases Florida New York City New Jersey Dist. of Columbia Connecticut Envelopes mailed to news media companies, Sept. 18 Envelopes mailed to government leaders, Oct. 9
  • 34. Laws preventing the use of chemical and biological warfare CW BW 1925 - Geneva Protocol   1975 – Biological & Toxins  Weapon Convention 1997 - Chemical Weapons  Convention 2001? – Protocol to Biological ? & Toxins Weapons Convention
  • 35. Are the laws enough? Any violations? Yes Italy CW in Ethiopia 1935-40 Iraq CW in Iran 1983-88 Russia BW Research 1975-92 (Offensive use) South BW Research 1981-95? Africa (Offensive use)
  • 36. Useful websites • www.opcw.org • http://multiple.kcvs.ca • http://www.unog.ch/bwc/meeting
  • 37. 52 The next 10 years – Existing stockpiles of CW destroyed – Inspections will move from monitoring CW destruction to policing industry – Not making CW is an ethical decision – Explain this to chemists – Develop ethical teaching for chemists and other scientists