Talk:Sulfur mustard

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"No use other then chemical warfare"[edit]

This sentence, in the introduction, is not actually true. Mustard gases are sometimes used in organic syntehsis. Sulfur and nitrogen mustards are also an innovative field for the development of anti-tumoral drugs. (source: "Organic Chemistry", aut.: Brown, Foote, Iverson) Giupio 14:26 april 9, 2009 —Preceding undated comment added 12:28, 9 April 2009 (UTC). Wouldn't it be easier to just not mix Sulfur with anything?23:22, 5 January 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

I agree, I believe the sentence should read " substances with little or no use other than in chemical warfare.". This is the definition of Schedule 1 in the CWC, plus it is more accurate since the nitrogen mustards were also used for chemotherapy. (talk) 18:02, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

Blistering method[edit]

Is it known how the Mustard gas causes blisters? AxelBoldt 19:03 Oct 10, 2002 (UTC) has more detail than some of the other Web pages I've seen. Any help?


mustard gas does have an odor, it is one that made people tear and start to bleed from the inside. Coughing and vomiting came after being exposed to the poison

There is something not quite right here: it the first section, Mustard gas is said to be odorless, while further down in the article is "has a distinct odor", these two don't mix.

Also I am in doubt whether the first statement of Mustard gas being odorless is really true, as far as I know the name does NOT come from the color of the substance, but from a very light odor resembling mustard or garlic. I will try to find references on this.

I changed the statement about odorlessness a bit to correspond with the source mentioned in the link at the bottom. -- Jörgen Nixdorf
There is still the odorless...smells like mustard inconsistancy in the first two sentences. Can someone competent fix this? 06:05, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
It also says that they are colourless and then that they're yellow-brown coloured in the next sentence. I'm assuming that one means in its purified form and the other in its common form (whatever that might be) but I'm not changing the article on the basis of a guess...Chris 12:52, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

LMAO O.K. guys, try reading the whole article. It states that, " Pure sulfur mustards are colorless, odorless, viscous liquids at room temperature. However, when used in impure form as warfare agents they are usually yellow-brown in color and has an odor".


How the compound with single bonds only can be polymerised? --Grzes 01:23, 3 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Elimination of HCl could generate double bonds; also homolytic cleavage of C-Cl and C-S bonds could give rise to unclean polymerisation via radical mechanisms.

Fatality Rate[edit]

The Wikipedia article states:

"Mustard gas was dispersed as an aerosol in a mixture with other chemicals, giving it a yellow-brown colour and a distinctive odour. Mustard gas was lethal in only about 1% of cases."

The article I linked to: states:

"The British had 180,983 chemical casualties; the injuries of 160,970 (88%) were caused solely by mustard. Of these casualties, 4,167 (2.6%) died. Of the 36,765 single-agent U.S. chemical casualties, the injuries of 27,711 (75%) were caused solely by mustard. Of the casualties who reached a medical treatment facility (MTF), 599 (2.2%) died."

With a reference to: Gilchrist HL. Statistical consideration of gas casualties, I: Gas casualties. In: Weed FW, ed. Medical Aspects of Gas Warfare. Vol 14. In: The Medical Department of the United States Army in the World War. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office; 1926: 273–279."

Later in the textbook:

"Mustard-related death occurs in about 3% of the casualties who reach an MTF; of those who die, most die 4 or more days after exposure ... Of the casualties who died, 84% required at least 4 days of hospitalization. The causes of death are usually pulmonary insufficiency from airway damage, superimposed infection, and sepsis. Rarely, the amount of mustard will be overwhelming and cause death within 1 to 2 days; in these circumstances, death might be due to neurological factors or massive airway damage."

However, it does state that in modern times (The Iran-Iraq war) there are even fewer fatalities due to mustard exposure.

The Textbook of Military Medicine Article aligns with my previous knowledge of the fatality rate of mustard gas, and provides a reference.

Perhaps an even more ambitious edit could go through both the textbook and the wiki article and add references to the wiki article backing up some facts. I may do it in about a month, but I have never edited an article before, and time is scarce at the moment.

BTW, I am assuming that this textbook is under the public domain - it is produced by the government.

This was in the article[edit]

I just noticed, has the exact same data for mustard gas as wikipedia does. Who has the rights to this?

Some guy posted this in the article, thinking it was the discussion.

  • This data was copied directly from us (from me, in fact: I wrote most of that text). If you're skeptical, take a look at their main page Of course, they're allowed to do that under the GNU Public License, so long as they don't try to sell it. – ClockworkSoul 13:19, 17 April 2006 (UTC).


Does anyone know of mustard gas left over from the World Wars being used as a pesticide? I've heard of it being used on tobacco and cotton crops in Georgia well into the 1960s. 08:41, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

  • I've never heard of any such thing, and if it's true then it was an exceedingly reckless thing to use. While I think it's very unlikely, I'll look into it and see what I can find. – ClockworkSoul 13:20, 17 April 2006 (UTC)
Cyanide gas canister found in an abandoned cotton gin. Says here it was used to kill insects in the grain and cotton seed, doesn't say if it was military surplus. Use of dangerous chemicals such as this was (and perhaps still is) actually quite common in poorer areas of rural America. 17:10, 17 April 2006 (UTC)
Cyanide is a very different thing from mustard gas, though: it was commonly used as a pesticide (an still is, in many places), whicle mustard gas has only seen very limited non-military applications. – ClockworkSoul 01:49, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Article focus[edit]

Mustard gas redirects here. I think it's safe to say that many, many more people are going to be searching for that term than this one, looking for information on its use as a weapon. And yet this article only mentions its military use at the very end of the second paragraph, almost in passing! I think that, at the very least, if mustard gas is going to redirect here it should be the primary focus of the first paragraph. In general, though, I think that they should either be seperate articles or placed at mustard gas; aren't articles supposed to be placed under the name by which they're more commonly called? --Aquillion 00:38, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

Removed some external links[edit]

In the external links section, two references were named which contain errors, I have moved them here:

This reference has several errors in it:
  1. The Fredrick Guthrie synthesis should be from ethylene and SCl2, not ethylene and Cl2 as stated.
  2. The hydrolysis reaction pathway produces two molecules of HCl and the last one produced is H2O, not three molecules of HCl as shown in the reference.
  3. The molecular structure given for nitrogen mustard (N-mustard) is not correct. The nitrogen atom should have a hydrogen bonded to it.
  4. The bulleted item describing HT at the beginning of the article suggests that T is a nitrogen mustard, this is incorrect. T is a sulfur mustard, specifically Bis[1(2-chloroethylthio)ethyl] ether, according to Department of the Army Field Manual (DA FM) 3-9, Potential Military Chemical/Biological agents and compounds, 1990.
This reference also has an error in it: in the sentence on synthesis of mustard gas, the phrase "sulfur monochloride, S2Cl2" should be "sulfur dichloride, SCl2"

Maybe someone can find better references for this? --Dirk Beetstra T C 15:26, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

Use of references[edit]

The use of mustard gas described as "Soviet Union in Xinjiang, China in 1934 and 1936-1937" needs better references; ref. 4 does not seem to contain any mention of this, and ref. 2 is a table that merely repeats the assertion.

Corrections to HT[edit]

I have corrected the entry for the chemical composition of HT in the first part of the article. As pointed out by Beetstra, HT is a mixture of bis(2-chloroethyl) sulfide and bis[2-(2-chloroethylthio)ethyl]ether. See article --Cwcchemist 15:35, 24 October 2006 (UTC)


I have been warned that stuff that looks like amber can be mustard gas. But how could it be mistaken for ambergris? There are no sperm whales in the Baltic sea and ambergris should be completely unknown. Amber is frequently found in the southern Baltic. Amber would make sense, ambergris not.

          -- 21:12, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Merge from Sesquimustard[edit]

I've merged the article Sesquimustard to Sulfur mustard. Quarl (talk) 2007-02-28 06:35Z[edit]

Is this really a valid source? The link provided is filled with historical inaccuracies, typos, original research, and personal bias. --NEMT 22:52, 9 July 2007 (UTC)


Wilhelm Steinkopf (* 1879, † 1949) and W. Lommel--Stone (talk) 10:25, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

Moving "Forumations" section down[edit]

I think this should be moved a couple of sections down. It should logically be presented after the effects and the history of the compound have been introduced. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 12:02, 12 October 2008 (UTC)


Does anyone have the first names for Lommel and Steinkopf? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:42, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

Huns never used Hun stuff?[edit]

There's an apparent contradiction in that "Hun stuff" is defined in the article as a crude mixture made by the Levinstein Process - yet the Germans, as the honorary Huns, are described using a different process with a different precursor. Even the British are described, at the end of the war, as beginning to synthesize the compound by yet another synthesis. So we have in the article that neither the Germans nor anyone in World War I used the formulation of the compound that is named as "Hun stuff" ... which seems odd. Wnt (talk) 23:15, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

The Germans never reffered to it as "Hun Stuff", their codenames for the agent were "LOST" and "Gelbkreuz" respectively. As the imperial german army/artillery first used mustard agent shells in the night of 12-13 July 1917 in the Ypres Salient area, mainly concentrating on the British/Commonwealth positions in the northern part of the Salient, they deployed some 50,000 shells (75 and 105 mm caliber mainly). Some of these shells gone dud and were recovered in the following days by the Brits as the devastating delayed effects became clear (this single attack alone caused many thousand casualties on the British side and postponed the planned allied offensive in that summer for 2-3 weeks). These dud shells were easily recognised because of the yellow cross marking they had and were sent to Porton Down for further investigation. Soldiers dreaded this new agent, giving it the colloquial name Hun Stuff, which was swiftly used in official reports (as "H.S.", or later simply "H"). Analyse in Porton Down identified the agent in few days as bis(2-chloroethyl)sulfide. Efforts were made to get the production on allied side running in an industrial scale to be able to retaliate in kind, but they failed to accomplish that for almost a year following. One of the reasons was that neither British nor French or American industry at that time could reach to the massive scale production of 2-chloroethanol/ethylene chlorohydrine (Bayer AG manufactured this precursor even before WW I in a kiloton-year-scale as a intermediary product for the dye industry, so that they could later rapidly divert these existing capacities for a large scale produciton of sulfur mustard); the Allies focused on the "direct" method of addition of sulfur chloride on ethene, which was however not mastered until well into 1918 and yielded a crude product, containing on average ~70% HD, which was not as effective and storage-stable as the highly pure (over 95% HD, the rest being mainly the even more toxic T) german agent. Therefore towards the end of the war, the crude british product was labeled "H"/HS", due to need for rapid buildup of a stockpile that could be used straigthforward on the front. Only after the end of the war, the Brits, Americans and the French began to further purify this agent by vacuum-distilling it, resulting in HD/Pyro. Cheers-- (talk) 20:29, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

Phase -- gas, vapour, liquid?[edit]

I've deleted the incorrect sentence saying that mustard gas is not a gas because it is a vapour (i.e., a gas). If someone wants to replace it with a correct statement about it being a liquid, feel free. LachlanA (talk) 03:55, 12 April 2009 (UTC)


The following has been removed from the "Mechanism of toxicity" section because it is more appropriate here:

Mechanism is wrong! See

I don't have access to the article, so I can't verify the claim. I'll leave it to the chemists among us to check this.—Tetracube (talk) 20:21, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

Some sources seems to outdated[edit]

Thsi source seems to be outdated:

Especially datas about using sulphur gas in Poland 1939 are good for nothing. It seems to be a copied from "SIPRI" publication: "The Problems of Chemical and Biological Warfare, t. I, The Rise of CB Weapons", Sztokholm 1971, p. 154-155.

This is copied from Mathias Kräutlera and Karl Springenschmidt book "Es War ein Edelweiss. Schicksal und Weg der zweiten Gebirgsdivision", Graz-Stuttgart 1962), p. 20-21.

And news here are taken straight from German war-propaganda.

This is explained in this division commander - general Valentin Feurstein - "Irrwege der Pflicht 1938-1945" (München-Wels 1963) p. 13.

So- "In 1939, Polish troops used chemical training mines containing diluted mustard agent to mine a bridge near Jaslo, injuring 14 German soldiers. It is unclear..."

It is clear now. Polish Army had some gas bombs in depots, Germans found a lot of them, but not in Jaslo. Polish units defending the city (1. pulk KOP) was a reserve units without regular chemical platoon and was not prepared for chemical warfare. Somebody had to be real moron, to mine a bridge. Using chemical in the middle of the mountain river?

Here is a text - unfortunately in Polish:

Here is a picture of so-called "cemical explosion":

There is an article about this accident: Robert Michulec, "Gazem w 1939 roku", Magazyn Wojna! Nr.5/6 2004r. str. 22. but not online :(

T.Pawlowski —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:55, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Inconsistency with Nitrogen Mustard article[edit]

In the Nitrogen mustard article it mentions that "It is a common myth that the drug mustine was developed after a war accident in 1943 in Bari, Italy" They cite an article that mentions that a group at Yale was performing classified human clinical trials of nitrogen mustards in the fall of 1942, a year before the incident at Bari. But, muddling the issue, in this article a cited book (Author: Faguet, Guy B.) that focuses on the Bari incident but also acknowledges that there were previous experiments and also mentions that during WWI doctors noticed decreased white cell counts in exposed soldiers. The book summarizes that after the war ended the combination of the Bari aftermath and the subsequently declassified human clinical trials lead to the development of the first anti-cancer drugs.

Based on the combination of these sources and the medical significance of the development of the first anti-cancer drugs I would suggest creating a new section after Use and before Disposal expanding on the development of mustards into anti-cancer drugs. Additionally, I would suggest updating the Nitrogen mustard article to discuss both events (the Bari incident and the Yale trials. As it is, the articles seem to be in competition with each other over which event was the "true" inspiration. Finally, on the Air Raid on Bari talk page someone suggested adding a section to that article about the development of anti-cancer drugs. Perhaps adding a blurb in the Bari page that links back to this page and it's (soon to be) expanded section about drug development. Falconerd (talk) 06:15, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

Unecessary deletion of photos[edit]

Why have so many useful photos with explanatory captions been deleted? A picture is worth a thousand words and some things can't be adequately described using text. If it's a question of having a neat & tidy layout for this Wikipedia article, then surely the photos could be moved to a separate "gallery" section at the end. Here are examples of the photos I'm talking about e.g. one of the deleted photos actually shows what mustard gas looks like. Hopefully, someone can explain the logic behind deleting the only free-use photo of mustard gas available on the web depicting the Wikipedia subject being described because frankly, I'm puzzled:-

Nabokov (talk) 12:24, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

Use of mustard gas under the Bush Administration[edit]

What was the involvement of the Bush Administration in the use of mustard gas in the Gulf War? I recall from televised coverage that the Administration sponsored the use of nerve gas and bulldozing techniques of large populations, ending the war. This is not listed in your account. Please verify. (talk) 21:33, 9 December 2011 (UTC)Christine

IMHO there's no need to verify such total nonsense. Regards, Lost Boy (talk) 11:57, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Natural Degradation[edit]

As there is a lot of it dumped in oceans and other places, it would be interesting if there was any information available about natural degradation into other compounds. Under which circumstances it takes place, how rapid the process can be and so on. Does not anyone have that kind of data?--Mlewan (talk) 04:41, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Mustard readily hydrolyses to form Thiodiglycol. However, since this happens only in solution or at the pase border, and mustard poorly dissolves in water, the effective hydrolysis is quite slow. It is safe to assume that the mustards leeking from submerged grenades doesn'travel very far before being hydrolysed.
Viscous/thickened Mustard is a different story, since the thickener prevents but the outer layer of mustard coming in contact with the sea water. This mixture (THD) was used munitioned extensively in the "Spray Can 37" (Srprühbüchse 37, SprüBü37), which was dumped by the thousands in the North and Baltic seas. Sources: 1. Lehrbuch der MIlitärchemie Band 1 Autorenkollektiv, Militärverlag der DDR, 1977; 2. Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society Study “Cross-Border Environmental Problems Emanating from Defence-Related Installations and Activities”, Volume 2: Chemical Contamination; Phase I: 1993-1995. Best regards, Lost Boy (talk) 04:51, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

Probable use by Syria against school recently[edit]

The recent attack against the children in the school seems to be Mustard Gas. Anyone want to follow up with the research and addition ? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:42, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

Use by the United Kingdom against the Red Army in 1919[edit]

The list of uses since WWI includes a use by United Kingdom against the Red Army in 1919; the cited link is dead. Why was the UK fighting the Red Army in 1919? Marnanel (talk) 02:22, 8 November 2014 (UTC)