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August 30, 1919


JAMA. 1919;73(9):684-686. doi:10.1001/jama.1919.02610350032010

One of the best known of all the war gases1 and perhaps the most interesting is the so-called "mustard gas" or dichlorethylsulphid. This gas was first used by the Germans in July, 1917, and received its name from its smell, which resembles the odor of garlic or mustard. It is not a gas at all, but a high boiling, oily liquid, which vaporizes slowly in the air. It is a very poisonous substance and exerts a local action on the respiratory tract, eyes and skin, and a general systemic action when absorbed in sufficient concentration intothe blood stream. In the concentrations of this "gas" which are present in the field, probably very little systemic action is generally noticed. The systemic action of the substance is of importance, however, as it leads us to a better understanding of the mechanism of action of the poison, and hence to an intelligent

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