Video: Local Chemist Helps U.S. Fight Chemical Attacks
STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – The latest round of violence between the Syrian government and rebel forces has lead the UN to investigate whether or not chemical weapons were used against the Syrian people. The world was shocked when video showed the poisoned bodies of Syrian citizens killed by an unknown toxic agent.
Dr. Todd Mlsna, an Analytical Chemist at Mississippi State University, helps develop devices used by the United States government in the fight against chemical weapons.
“We’ve been funded a good bit by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense to develop instruments that can be used both for civilian and for soldiers. What we start with are little micro-sensors. It’s a chemical detector that’s very small. Because it’s so small, we can put it in a very small package that’s very portable. You can see some of the components here. It’s easy for the soldier to carry onto the battlefield.
Dr. Mlsna says that gas chemical agents are harder to detect after they’ve been dispersed.
“For something like this, it has to be something that’s volatile enough to make it to the sensor. So it’s got to be one of the gas phase chemical warfare agents as opposed to something like Viax, which is a nerve agent that has to be contact. This is more an inhalation warfare agent detector,” says Mlsna.
UN inspectors have not said exactly which chemical agent may have been used in Syria. Dr. Milsna started his work and research with United States Naval Research lab.