Mustard Facts

Background: Pueblo Chemical Depot has been storing mustard agent since the 1950s. This represents about 8.5% of the original U.S. chemical weapons stockpile. Pueblo's stockpile includes projectiles and mortar rounds.

Mustard Agent

  • Clear liquid when pure
  • Consistency of motor oil or molasses
  • Normally a yellow-brown color
  • Heavier than water as a liquid and heavier than air as a vapor
  • Mustard is a persistent agent
  • Mustard is a vesicant; can cause blisters
  • Designed to incapacitate personnel

Storage & Safety

  • Stored in earth-covered bunkers called igloos.
  • Igloos, constructed of concrete with reinforced steel, are 25 feet high, 25 feet wide, and 80 feet long.
  • The igloos are specifically designed to contain the weapons and protect them from damage caused by deterioration and weather-related events.
  • The chemical storage area is secured and monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

HD HT - Pueblo's Stockpile Consists of Two Types of Mustard HD & HT

  • HD is a sulfur mustard, distilled to remove impurities.
  • HD becomes a solid at 58º Fahrenheit and boils at 422° Fahrenheit.
  • HD is 1.27 times heavier than water, and 5.5 times heavier than air.
  • HT is a distilled mustard combined with a sulfur and chlorine compound.
  • HT becomes a solid at 34° Fahrenheit and boils at 442° Fahrenheit.
  • HT is 1.27 times heavier than water, and 6.9 times heavier than air.

Symptoms of Mustard Exposure

  • Burning or stinging of the eyes
  • Sore throat and hoarse cough
  • Burning, stinging, or redness of the skin
  • Skin blisters, appear on delicate tissues first
  • Ingestion can cause weakness, nausea, vomiting, and fever
  • 2 to 24 hour delay before symptoms appear

Personnel Decontamination

  • Flush eyes and exposed wounds with clear water or saline only.
  • Remove contaminated clothing.
  • Flush skin with a 5% household bleach to water mixture followed by washing with soap and water.
  • If any of the symptoms appear, seek medical attention immediately.