Anybody who served in the Army in the last 50 years or so will recall the symptoms of nerve agent poisoning:
Headaches, blurry vision, difficulty breathing, tightness of the chest, nausea, and muscular twitching of exposed skin.
Why do I mention this?
Because I was spraying ant-killer this morning. And almost immediately suffered symptoms. Which is not at all surprising, since ant-killer is a complex organophosphate. It’s just diluted nerve gas. In fact, nerve agents were discovered kinda by accident while developing insecticides.
Nerve agents can attack you via inhalation, ingestion, or even just skin absorption. Back in the Cold War, and during Desert Storm, we paid a huge amount of attention to chemical warfare, preparing to defend ourselves against nerve agents and other chemical weapons. And of course, during the first stages of the current Iraqi war, there was great concern that Saddam’s regime would use chemical agents.
Lately, the emphasis has shifted to other concerns, such as IED detection and Military Operations on Urban Terrain (MOUT). But all soldiers still maintain a basic proficiency in defense against chemical warfare.