Chemical weapons horror: Briton’s trachea ‘restricted to the size of straw’ after exposure | Science | New


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In 1983, the UK Ministry of Defense tested sarin, the deadly nerve gas, on subjects at the government’s defense research facility at Porton Down Chemical & Biological Defense Establishment. One, Ian Foulkes, described his harrowing experience of experimentation at one of the UK’s most secretive and controversial military research facilities.

Although he admitted he was given the option to drop out of the trials, he says he continued after being “assured that everything was safe”.

Addressing “Cold War ConversationsHost Ian Sanders said: “I was taken to the bedroom, we had to go through two airlocks, and I saw us because the tech came in with me.

“He was masked and wearing a respirator, and he was there in case I collapsed and he could get me out.”

He noted that the researchers had added a chemical agent to the sarin to give it a specific aroma, which would allow the technician to be alerted if his mask was malfunctioning and he inhaled the gas.

Chemical weapons horror: Briton details how trachea ‘restricts to the size of straw’ (Image: C. Woods/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Until 1983, the UK Ministry of Defense subjected servicemen to sarin, the deadly nerve gas

Until 1983, the British Ministry of Defense subjected the military to Sarin, the deadly nerve gas (Image: C. Woods/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Although Mr Foulkes could not describe the smell, he said: “I can say that if I ever smelled it again I would run screaming in the opposite direction because of what I associate with it.”

He claimed: “I was in the room for 30 minutes in total, the first symptom I noticed – they describe it in the training manual as ‘chest tightness’.

“That’s too nice. For me, it felt like my windpipe had constricted to the size of a straw.

“The breathing was really very labored.

“At this point my eyesight was unaffected and it was mainly my windpipe, and that in itself was quite a pain, especially as having been a swimmer I had very good breathing technique.”

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It was one of the UK's most secretive and controversial military research facilities.

It was one of the UK’s most secretive and controversial military research facilities. (Image: Wood/Daily Express/Getty Images)

Mr Foulkes claimed that after half an hour he was taken outside the bedroom, where he began to experience a ‘darkness of vision’.

He said: “It was my pupil starting to constrict, and at its narrowest point, if I remember correctly, it was a millimeter wide.

“You couldn’t see…you were seeing distorted colors at best”

At this point, Mr Foulkes claimed he had a ‘blinding headache’ as he was taken out of the rooms and asked scientists to test his blood sample, among other tests.

The former serviceman alleged his health had steadily deteriorated since those trials, although he was able to continue in the military until 1999.

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A scientist performing an experiment in a glove box

A scientist performing an experiment in a glove box (Image: C. Woods/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Founded in 1916, Porton Down in Wiltshire is the oldest chemical warfare research facility in the world.

In 2006 the Ministry of Defense paid £100,000 compensation to the family of an airman unlawfully killed after being exposed to sarin.

For years, Ronald Maddison’s family had pressed the government to apologize and explain how and why he died in a chemical warfare test in 1953.

Musk r Maddison was one of many servicemen who fielded calls for human “guinea pigs”.

Two years later, the government awarded compensation totaling £3 million to hundreds of veterans who took part in the experiments.

Prime Minister Johnson visits Porton Down Science Park, which was working on a sideways covid test carried out in the UK last year

PM Johnson visits Porton Down Science Park which was working on a UK made sideways covid test (Image: Adrian Dennis – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

In June 2016, the MoD issued a statement saying: “Since 1916 over 20,000 volunteers have participated in studies at Porton Down.

“Without their involvement, we could not have developed the highly effective protective clothing and medical countermeasures that our armed forces rely on.

“The volunteer program has always been run according to the highest ethical standards of the time.

“We are still conducting trials with human volunteers to make protective gear easier to wear and to develop better training procedures.

“These trials meet all nationally and internationally accepted ethical standards. All trials are approved through the Department of Defense Research Ethics Boards (MODREC) process.”

A MOD spokesperson said: ‘Although we do not comment on individual cases, we are committed to supporting everyone who has been involved in the trials at Porton Down, which is why the Porton Down Volunteer Helpline is open and available to anyone who feels eligible. help.”

If a former Porton Down volunteer has any concerns about the trials they participated in or any subsequent effects on their health, they should contact the Porton Down Volunteer Helpline on 0800 7832521.

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