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National Briefing / KENTUCKY

2nd mustard gas leak found

August 07, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

Officials at a chemical weapons stockpile at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Richmond suspect that rising summer temperatures are partly responsible for the second mustard gas leak in less than two weeks.

Like the previous leak detected on July 28 at a separate storage igloo, this one was a low concentration of the blister agent and not considered dangerous to the community or environment.

Richard Sloan, public affairs officer for the chemical storage site, said it wasn't clear why there have suddenly been two leaks, but all signs point to the heat. Mustard agent is essentially leak-proof and in a solid form at 56 degrees and lower. When the mercury rises, so does the opportunity for a leak, Sloan said.

"It's not an accurate predictor, nothing is; but we have found as the temperature rises, we tend to melt the mustard," Sloan said.

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