Volume 32, Issue 6 (November 1987)
Concentrations of Mustard Gas [Bis(2-Chloroethyl)Sulfide] in the Tissues of a Victim of a Vesicant Exposure
An Iranian soldier died at a toxicological intensive care unit at Munich seven days after a vesicant exposure. At the autopsy the typical symptoms of mustard gas intoxication were found. The vesicant was detected qualitatively by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) in the abdominal fat and quantified in the tissues and in the body fluids by the following method: (1) extraction by dichloromethane, (2) cleanup of the extracts by thin-layer chromatography (TLC) on silica plates, (3) extractive derivatization with gold-chloride, and (4) quantitative determination by electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry (ET-AAS). The equal extracts, after heating, served for blanks. The following concentrations were found (milligrams of mustard gas/kilograms of tissue wet weight): brain 10.7, cerebrospinal fluid 1.9, liver 2.4, kidney 5.6; spleen 1.5, lung 0.8, muscle 3.9, fat 15.1, skin 8.4, skin with subcutaneous fatty tissue 11.8, liquid from a skin blister: below detection limit, blood 1.1, and urine: below detection limit.