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South Carolina Health Alert Network

Sarin

1. General Information
Sarin is a human-made chemical warfare agent that is classified as a nerve agent. Sarin is a clear, colorless, and tasteless liquid that has no odor in its pure form. Sarin, also known as GB, can evaporate into a vapor (gas) and spread into the environment. Sarin is not found naturally in the environment, but was developed in 1938 in Germany as a pesticide. Nerve agents, the most toxic and rapidly acting of the known chemical warfare agents, are similar to certain kinds of pesticides (insect killers) called organophosphates in terms of how they work and what kind of harmful effects they cause. However, nerve agents are much more potent than organophosphate pesticides.


2. Basic Sarin References
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (www.cdc.gov/) maintains a web page devoted exclusively to sarin (http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/sarin) which includes excellent technical documents about the nerve agent. Links are provided below to these documents, selected from the several dozen available, as useful for persons, including health care professionals, looking for a rapid, basic orientation to sarin.

Information for the General Public
Information for Health Professionals


3. More Information About Sarin

4. Sarin Reporting
Physicians and health care facilities should report suspected cases of exposure to sarin to their local county health department.