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The Risk of a Biological or Chemical Attack

Demystifying the poisons that constitute biological and chemical threats is a good thing, but it is important not to overlook the threat of danger. It helps to know that acquiring, producing, and dispersing biological or chemical agents may be more easily said than done. Many of their characteristics reduce the likelihood that they can be transformed from weapons of "mass threat" to weapons of “mass destruction.” It is worth noting that:

  • Most biological and chemical agents are difficult and dangerous to acquire, handle, and transport.
  • Extremely sophisticated expertise and technology may be necessary to produce the agents, especially biological agents.
  • Chemical properties may make it difficult to disperse a sufficient quantity to produce toxicity – each of these agents has a toxicity threshold that must be reached in order to inflict harm.
  • Enormous quantities are necessary to contaminate a water supply or poison people at a civic gathering. This requirement reduces their potential for use as terrorist weapons.