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Project 112 Glossary


Bacillus subtilis var. niger (Bacillus globigii)

Harmless to humans, Bacillus globigii is ubiquitous and found easily in samplings of wind-borne dust. BG is safely used in biological studies as a stand-in for pathogenic bacteria. Bacillus globigii is used as a biological tracer for anthrax because its particle size and dispersal characteristics are similar to those of anthrax. A household bleach-and-water solution easily kills Bacillus globigii. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention place this in BSL-1, suitable for work involving well-characterized agents not known to consistently cause disease in healthy adult humans.

Betapropiolactone (b -Propiolactone)

Modern uses for b -propiolactone include vaccines, enzymes, tissue grafts, and surgical instruments; to sterilize blood plasma, water, milk, and nutrient broth; and as a vapor-phase disinfectant in enclosed spaces. Its sporicidal action kills vegetative bacteria, pathogenic fungi, and viruses. The primary routes of potential human exposure to b -propiolactone are inhalation, ingestion, and dermal contact. There is evidence b -propiolactone is a carcinogen. However, the results of animal testing in mice, rats, hamsters, and guinea pigs are questionable due to a lack of controls in the study. An International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) working group reported no data are available to evaluate the carcinogenicity of b -propiolactone in humans.

Bis (2 ethyl-hexyl) hydrogen phosphite

May be harmful by inhalation, ingestion, or skin absorption. Vapor or mist can be irritating to the eyes, mucous membranes, and upper respiratory tract. It can also cause skin irritation. Used as a simulant, it is not carcinogenic and there are no chronic exposure hazards.



Calcofluor (fluorescent brightener 28, Calcofluor White ST)

Used as a fluorescent tracer with Bacillus globigii. C40H42N12Na2O10S2. Testing on laboratory animals indicates calcofluor may cause mild eye irritation.

Coxiella burnetii

Until the stockpile was destroyed in 1972, Coxiella burnetii was part of the US biological weapons stockpile. Coxiella burnetii causes Q-fever in humans. Domestic animals (cattle, sheep, and goats), cats, wild animals, and ticks usually host Coxiella burnetii. Humans become infected after contact with contaminated materials (feces, blood, placenta, etc.); inhaling contaminated dust or droplets; or ingesting contaminated food or raw (unpasteurized) milk. Symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, muscle pains, joint pain (arthralgia ), and a dry, non-productive cough. Hepatitis or pneumonia also may develop during the early stages of the disease. In rare occurrences, Q fever can cause severe complications in the aortic heart valve (and subsequent endocarditis). Generally, victims recover even without treatment. However, complications, if they ensue, can be very serious and sometimes even life-threatening.



Diethylphthlate (Synonyms: diethyl ester 2, Benzenedicarboxylic acid)

Short-term exposure to diethylphthlate vapors can irritate the nose and throat. If splashed in the eyes, diethylphthlate can cause considerable eye pain but no, or slight, reversible damage. The Environmental Protection Agency places this substance in category D - not classifiable as a human carcinogen. Diethylphthlate is only very slowly absorbed through the skin; however, ingestion in high concentrations can cause gastrointestinal irritation, or hypotension. Diethylphthlate has been used routinely as an insect repellent since World War II. It is also used in cosmetics and aspirin.



Escherichia Coli (Synonym: E. Coli)

E. Coli is one of the most common bacteria in manís environment. Most animals and humans have it in their digestive systems, where it does no harm. E. Coli can cause severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, bloody stools, and kidney failure. Some who are exposed to E. Coli may experience mild irritation of the stomach and intestines that goes away without treatment, while for others the bacteria can be deadly.



Live agent

A pathogenic substance, either chemical or biological.


Pasteurella tularensis

Pasteurella tularensis causes the infectious disease tularemia (rabbit fever, deer fly fever, Ohara's disease), most commonly in people who handle infected wild rabbits. Other infected animals, ticks, or contaminated food or water also transmit tularemia. The symptoms, high fever and severe constitutional distress, appear suddenly within 10 days of exposure. One (or more) ulcerating lesion develops at the site of infection, such as the arm, eye, or mouth. The regional lymph nodes enlarge, suppurate, and drain. Pneumonia, meningitis, or peritonitis may complicate the infection, whose mortality rate is about six percent.

Phosphorous 32

Phosphorous 32 is one of the highest energy beta-emitting radionuclides commonly used in biomedical research. In general Phosphorous 32 does not pose a severe threat from ingestion or inhalation. High energy betas from Phosphorous 32 pose an external (skin and lens of the eye) dose hazard, as well as a potential internal hazard. Radiogenic health effects (primarily cancer) are observed in humans only at doses in excess of 10 rem delivered at high dose rates. Below this dose, estimation of adverse health effects is speculative. Exposure can contribute to development of cancer.


Sarin Nerve Agent

Sarin gas is classified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a volatile and lethal nerve agent. Occupational Exposure limits are .0001mg/m3. It can enter the body by inhalation, ingestion, through the eyes, and to a lesser extent through the skin. Symptoms may occur within minutes depending on dose and include runny nose, watery eyes, drooling, tightness of the chest, difficulty breathing, dimness of vision, nausea, vomiting, cramps, loss of bladder/bowel control, twitching, jerking, staggering, confusion, drowsiness, coma, and death. Very little information is available regarding prolonged exposures to low levels and no information is available regarding potential carcinogenicity. Rapid decontamination is critical and administration of atropine every 5-10 minutes is necessary until symptoms are minimized. Complete recovery can take months and permanent damage to central nervous system is possible.

Serratia marcescens

In 1969 Serratia marcescens was recognized as having a limited pathogenic capability and its use as a bacterial marker for studying the dissemination of bacterial aerosols was discontinued. It is an opportunistic pathogen, causing infections of the endocardium, blood, wounds, and urinary and respiratory tracts.


A less hazardous or costly compound or organism that closely mimics one or more characteristics of another compound or organism of interest. Because no one compound or organism can mimic all of another's characteristics, simulants are chosen based on the particular characteristics or properties of the target compound or organism being studied.

Staphylococcal Enterotoxin, Type B (PG2)

Produced by Staphylococcus aureus strains. It may be aerosolized or used to sabotage food supplies causing food poisoning. Symptoms are present within three to twelve hours after aerosol exposure and are characterized by fever, chills, headache, myalgia and nonproductive cough. Some may develop shortness of breath and retrosternal chest pain. Fever may last two to five days, and cough may persist for up to four weeks. Swallowing staphylococcal enterotoxin may also cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. staphylococcal enterotoxin is not generally thought of as a lethal agent; however, it may incapacitate soldiers for one to two weeks. Military protective masks are effective against exposure. Treatment is limited to supportive care through ventilation and fluid management. The incapacitating dose is 30 mg/person by inhalation.

Sulfur Dioxide

Sulfur dioxide is a strong irritant of the lungs and throat. Internal exposure causes headache, dizziness, nausea, wheezing, and cough. External exposure causes severe irritation of eyes, nose, throat, and blisters on skin. Exposures to sulfur dioxide may lawfully range from 0 to 5 parts per million (ppm) of air. Exposure to 100 PPM of sulfur dioxide is considered immediately dangerous to life and health.


Trioctyl phosphate (tri(2-ethylhexyl) phosphate) (TOF)

Used as a nontoxic simulant for VX nerve agent. TOF is a viscous, colorless or pale yellow liquid. It can irritate the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract on contact. It can cause cancer in some animal species, but this has not been demonstrated in humans.


Uranine dye (sodium fluorescein)

Uranine dye is used as a tracer can cause a mild reaction in about one in ten people exposed. Exposure to dye dust through breathing or skin contact can result in adverse health effects such as asthma, eczema, and severe allergic reactions.



VX Nerve Agent

Lethal Nerve Agent (Synonyms: Phosphonothioic acid, VX): VX nerve agent is extremely lethal. It is an oily liquid that is clear, odorless, and tasteless. Death usually occurs within 10-15 minutes after absorption of a fatal dosage. VX nerve agent is one of the most toxic substances ever synthesized. Symptoms of overexposure may occur within minutes or hours, depending upon the dose. They include: miosis (constriction of pupils) and visual effects, headaches and pressure sensation, runny nose and nasal congestion, salivation, tightness in the chest, nausea, vomiting, giddiness, anxiety, difficulty in thinking, difficulty sleeping, nightmares, muscle twitches, tremors, weakness, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, involuntary urination and defecation. With severe exposure symptoms progress to convulsions and respiratory failure. The permissible airborne exposure concentration for VX nerve agent in any 8-hour work shift can be found in Department of the Army Pamphlet 40-8. To date, however, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has not promulgated a permissible exposure concentration for VX nerve agent.