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The U.S. State Department accused Russia of using chemical agent chloropicrin in Ukraine which is a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

About Chloropicrin: 

  • It is a chemical compound which is also known as nitro chloroform. It is used both as a warfare agent and pesticide.
  • Appearance: It is a colourless to yellow oily liquid.
  • It is used broadly as a fungicide, herbicide, insecticide, nematicide and antimicrobial.
  • It is an irritant with characteristics of a tear gas. It has an intensely irritating odour, and can be absorbed through inhalation, ingestion, and the skin.
  • It was first made for use as a poison gas in the First World War, by both the Allied and the Central Powers.
  • Manufacturing
    • It’s manufactured in a chemical reaction involving sodium hypochlorite (which in dilute form is called bleach) and nitromethane (a common industrial solvent).
    • It can also be made by combining chloroform with nitric acid, which yields chloropicrin and water.
  • Impacts on Health
    • Chloropicrin has documented irritating and tears-inducing effects on humans, and is also known to be highly toxic and carcinogenic and also induce vomiting

Key facts about Chemical Weapons Convention

  • It is a multilateral treaty that bans chemical weapons and requires their destruction within a specified period of time.
  • It entered into force on April 29, 1997.
  • It requires states-parties to declare in writing to the OPCW their chemical weapons stockpiles, chemical weapons production facilities (CWPFs), relevant chemical industry facilities, and other weapons-related information.
  • It is open to all nations and currently has 193 states-parties.
  • India is a signatory and party to the Chemical Weapons Convention. It has signed the treaty at Paris on 14th day of January 1993.
  • It is pursuant to provisions of the Convention enacted the Chemical Weapons Convention Act, 2000.

Q1: What is nematicide?

It refers to chemical compounds that kill, inhibit, or repel nematodes or manipulate their behavior to mitigate crop damage.

Source: Chloropicrin: chemical weapon or pesticide?