Fresh Catch of the Day in Boston: Mustard Gas

A clam boat in Massachusetts dredged up a not-so-welcome surprise last week – 2 tanks of Mustard Gas. One crew member is reported as getting sick from the exposure, confirmed by diagnosis, blood and urine tests, before they tossed the canisters back into the sea. The Coast Guard is now looking for them.

Now, one may ask “why would their be intact mustard gas tanks in dredging depths off the eastern coast of the United States?” Apparently, in the 1970s after the Vietnam War we had to something with all these toxic weapons we used on other people. Apparently, the solution by the military was to dump them in the ocean. What could possibly go wrong?

We have been following the issue of munition dumping at sea for a couple years, and this is becoming a new sub-field of ecology – Warfare Ecology. As should be obvious, if you find what you think may be munitions washing up on the beach, DO NOT APPROACH the object, call the police first. These were live ammunition that were dumped and the sea has not been kind to the metal canisters they are in and can easily leak, as evidenced by the clam dredging report above. It might nice to have the cool souvenir, but not so nice to gets blisters all over your skin and die.

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