Banned chemical weapon VX is potent killer that lingers

The banned chemical weapon VX is considered by some experts to be the nastiest of the nasty nerve agents known to exist. With a consistency similar to motor oil, it lingers for long periods in the environment and even a tiny amount causes victims’ bodies to flood with fluids, producing a feeling of drowning before death.

So when Malaysian authorities announced Friday that VX was to blame for the Feb. 13 death of the North Korean leader’s exiled half brother inside a busy Kuala Lumpur airport, it raised nearly as many questions as answers.

First, with a substance so potent, how is it possible that the two women who allegedly attacked Kim Jong Nam with it could have survived? Second, given that particles can remain in the environment for possibly weeks after being released, why didn’t the airport undertake specialized decontamination measures to ensure the public’s safety?


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