World War I-Era Chemical Found on Aberdeen Proving Ground

Follow up analysis on a hazardous materials issue that began Tuesday indicated the World War I-era chemical agent called Lewisite was present.

Traces of a chemical dating back to World War I were found at a demolition site on Tuesday, but APG personnel and Harford County residents are not facing any adverse health risks as a result, a release from APG states.

As a precaution, demolition work has stopped and debris at the demolition site is being capped with a cover to ensure continuing public safety, according to the release.

to a report of an unusual odor Tuesday night. Crews responded again Wednesday afternoon, and determined that no hazardous materials were present, Acting Garrison Public Affairs Officer Adriane Foss told Patch.

The odor was reported after pipes were broken during a routine demolition activity in the Edgewood area of APG, Foss said.

But Thursday, lab analysis of samples taken from the area confirmed a World War I-era chemical agent called Lewisite was present at the demolition site, according to a release from APG.

No one on or near APG has suffered any negative health issues as a result of the chemical, and APG emergency services assures there is no potential for hazardous conditions to impact personnel at APG or in neighboring communities, the release states.

"Safety remains our number one concern, and the post will use all assets at its disposal to assure that safety," the release states.

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cml June 29, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Mildred M. Samy June 29, 2012 at 03:49 AM
This has been sitting there a very long time. I'm leery that it is NOT dangerous. Sounds like the Mustard Agent all over again.
titsie bubenheimer June 29, 2012 at 05:07 AM
Whoa. Nice. Who is responsible for THAT mess?
FH John June 29, 2012 at 11:23 AM
Mildred, You should be much more leery of driving down any road in the county while dodging people that are texting. Lewisite is the consistancy of motor oil so unless you are touching it or directly over it you'll be fine.
Leslie Schildgen June 29, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Can it leach into the ground water and work its way into residential wells
Wings June 29, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Ok so tell us it isn't dangerous and we have nothing to worry about. But then attach a picture of a mans that looks like it is ready to explode. That will keep people calm, SMH.
Christine June 29, 2012 at 08:56 PM
It is safe as long as you wear a gas mask and don't touch it, and if it seeps into the ground only Edgewood people will be affected.
Nick June 29, 2012 at 10:52 PM
I would bet that the pipes being demolished were old drain lines in the building being worked on. Lewisite is very easily identified because it smells very strongly like geraniums. Consequently it was ineffective as a chemical weapon and its use was discontinued after World War I. I would bet that any environmental damage was done years ago when someone poured this stuff down the drain.
Christine June 29, 2012 at 11:50 PM
You may be right, Nick. Sad, but true..... There are worse things to worry about in that location.
Meg July 02, 2012 at 08:04 PM
On the proving ground we got an email this morning following-up that, "All follow-on tests proved negative for the presence of chemical agents." This article should be updated.
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