EPA has classified inorganic arsenic as a human carcinogen. Arsine is a gas consisting of arsenic and hydrogen. It is extremely toxic to humans, with headaches, vomiting, and abdominal pains occurring within a few hours of exposure. EPA has not classified arsine for carcinogenicity.
Use of arsenicals in chemical warfare.
- Chlorovinyl dichloroarsine (also known as lewisite) was developed as a chemical warfare vesicant in the 1920s. It was declared obsolete in the 1950s in the United States and stockpiles were neutralized and disposed of. Unexploded ordnance containing Lewisite can still be found at U.S. former munition ranges [EPA 2008]. Lewisite is a compound from the chemical family of arsines that has different health effects than arsenic compounds. For example, it causes severe skin burns on contact at very low concentrations.