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Overview of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Chemical Weapons Disposal Oversight Program

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In the early 1970s, the U.S. Congress mandated destruction of outdated chemical weapons. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is required by law to review plans for transportation and disposal of chemical warfare materials to ensure adequate protection of public health and safety. Plans must describe methods and facilities and include destruction schedules and facility management. CDC’s Chemical Weapons Elimination program protects “public health and safety by reviewing, advising, and making recommendations on the safe disposal and transportation of stockpile and non-stockpile chemical warfare agents.”

As part of its oversight role, the program formed partnerships with agencies such as state health departments, local medical facilities, and state environmental departments. CDC provides guidance and expertise to address issues and concerns of officials and the public. CDC also works with local citizens’ advisory committees and federal agencies to address issues for workers and the local areas.

Chemical warfare agents in the U.S. stockpile are destroyed by several methods, including incineration and chemical processing with caustic products. Technologies used to destroy recovered chemical warfare materiel include transportable treatment systems.

The U.S. Army is a world leader in chemical weapons elimination. More than a decade of experience demonstrates that these weapons can be destroyed safely, without harm to destruction-facility employees, the community, or the environment. This portion of the article focuses on the history and challenges of systems that safely destroy chemical weapons and how they must be considered for plans to recover and destroy underwater chemical munitions.

Keywords: Incineration; Neutralization; Nonstockpile; Stockpile; Vessicant

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2009

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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