Aug 30 (Reuters) - The United Nations found small amounts of a potentially lethal chemical warfare agent, removed from Iraq a decade ago, in offices near its New York headquarters ................... Phosgene was used extensively during World War One as a choking agent that attacks the lungs. The phosgene was recovered in 1996 from a former Iraqi chemical weapons facility, al-Muthanna, north of Baghdad. "It should not have come here," said Ewen Buchanan, .................. R.P. Eddy, ....a former U.N. adviser, agreed. ........... This is one goofball error," he said. .................http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phosgene
Phosgene was synthesized ........ in 1812 .. exposing a mixture of carbon monoxide and chlorine to sunlight. ......... It .. became important in the chemical industry as the 19th century progressed, particularly in dye manufacturing........... Phosgene was stockpiled as part of U.S. military arsenals until well after World War II in the form of aerial bombs and mortar rounds., the United States began disposing of its stockpiles in 1969. Even before then, the importance of phosgene as a weapon had declined as the more lethal nerve agents entered stockpiles. ........ Around 2 million tons are produced annually for use in the synthesis of fine chemicals and polymers. Industrially, phosgene is produced by passing purified carbon monoxide and chlorine gas through a bed of highly porous carbon, which acts as a catalyst. The chemical equation for this reaction follows: .......... The reaction is exothermic, therefore the reactor must be cooled to carry away the heat it produces. Typically, the reaction is conducted between 50 and 150 Â°C. Above 200 Â°C, phosgene decomposes back into carbon monoxide and chlorine. Upon ultraviolet radiation in the presence of oxygen, chloroform slowly converts into phosgene via a radical reaction. To suppress this photodegradation, chloroform is often stored in brown-tinted glass containers. Because of safety issues, phosgene is almost always produced and consumed within the same plant. It is listed on schedule 3 of the Chemical Weapons Convention: all production sites manufacturing more than 30 tonnes per year must be declared to the OPCW. Although much less dangerous than nerve agents, phosgene is still regarded as a viable chemical warfare agent.
Phosgene is used chiefly in the production of polymers including polyurethanes, polycarbonates, and polyureas. It is also valuable in the preparation of fine chemicals. In the laboratory for small-scale reactions, gaseous phosgene has increasingly been supplanted by more easily handled reagents that effect comparable transformations: diphosgene (chloroformic acid ester), which is a liquid at room temperature, or triphosgene, a crystalline substance. Following are three of many useful reactions involving phosgene. .................. Phosgene is an insidious poison as the odor may not be noticed and symptoms may be slow to appear. Like many reactive chlorides, phosgene combines with water in the tissues of the respiratory tract to form hydrochloric acid. Phosgene is stable when stored in dry steel containers.. Phosgene is a member of a class of organic chemicals known as alkylating agents. These agents can react with both DNA and with enzymes (polymerases) that are responsible for replication of DNA in cells.
....or maybe not. :smirk: