Sarin: A Danger to Society
By Sarah Parker      photo (1).JPG

Currently, the United States is debating on military interference in Syria using conventional bombs, containing the harmful gas, sarin, as a force against Syria. Syria is experiencing a civil war that has been going on for two years now.  Recently we discovered that the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, attacked some of his own people with this nerve gas, sarin. The United States is expected to do something to stop this. So the question is raised, should the United States attack Syria with conventional bombs? The US has a tough decision to make, but they should chose to attack with conventional bombs because sarin gas is dangerous, hard to decontaminate and prevent exposure to, and could potentially spread through the environment.
Sarin gas is a man-made chemical found in labs and used as one of the most toxic agents in warfare for maximum destruction. At first, it was innocently developed as a pesticide in Germany back in the 1930s. However, in 1994, the Japanese discovered its harmful powers and used it in two different terrorist attacks. This is an odorless, colorless gas that attacks the enzyme that stops muscle movement when it is not receiving the brain’s signals. When exposed to sarin, the most extreme and dangerous effects include loss of consciousness, convulsions, paralysis, and respiratory failure. This is extremely dangerous to the people exposed, because the effects can be rapidly fatal. The use of this in Syria was very dangerous, and the United States should not let this attack slide by unaccounted for.
Preventing yourself from being exposed to sarin is practically impossible. There are different ways of being exposed to sarin. These include inhalation, ingestion, skin contact, or eye contact. If inhaled, you would have to have a mask, it would have to covers the face, and even then, you still don’t have full protection from exposure. This mask would also be hard to obtain for the poorer communities in Syria, so that leaves that community unprotected. Also, when exposed through skin contact or eye contact, one has to wash and rid themselves of the chemical within minutes before it destroys the nerve system.  There is an antidote to sarin, but it may not be readily available in time to save the exposed person. If sarin contacts clothing, then one would have to cut the clothing off, seal it in a plastic bag, and then seal that bag in yet another plastic bag. After all of this trouble, you still have to seek medical care. All these factors show how it would be very difficult to prevent oneself from exposure, and also decontamination from sarin. That is why the US should use force against Syria to prevent the use of this dangerous gas.
Sarin can be mixed with water and food, and is hard to identify due to its colorless and odorless make up. This could cause major problems in the environment. For example, if sarin gas or liquid sarin leaked into a body of water in nature, it could not only potentially contaminate human drinking water, but also harm the animals and life around the area of the leakage. If animals drink from the water, or eat plants that have been contaminated, they could all be harmed and exposed to sarin. This would cause large problems, especially if the body of water could potentially carry sarin into other environments causing even more harm. Since it is odorless and colorless, it would be hard to clean up such a mess. The US cannot let this disaster occur.
Considering how dangerous sarin gas is, how difficult it would be to prevent exposure and decontaminate oneself after exposure, and how sarin could easily spread through an environment causing mass destruction, the United States should act upon stopping the use of this gas, and make the world a better place.

"Facts About Sarin." CDC. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2013.

Smith-Spark, Laura, Barbara Starr, Nick Paton Walsh, Henry Shirley, Nic Robertson, Christian DuChateau, Matt Smith, Brian Todd, Forrest Brown, and Chris Lawrence. "Could Syria Strike Back If United States, Allies, Attack?" CNN. Cable News Network, 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 27 Sept. 2013.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 June 2013. Web. 27 Sept. 2013.

"Gas Mask for Sarin Gas." , Page 1. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2013.