The Israel Medical Association journal : IMAJ

Osmium tetroxide: a new kind of weapon.

PMID 17987767


OsO4 is a powerful oxidizer. It affects mainly the skin and mucous membranes. Although unsuitable for a large-scale terrorist attack, mainly due to its scarcity, it could be used in small-scale attacks. The small quantity contained in a vial would cause irritation to the eyes, nose, throat and skin. Combining the agent with an explosive material will probably destroy most of it, chemically. Thus, releasing the chemical without using explosives may be considerably more dangerous. Medical management is mainly symptomatic. As soon as the chemical enters the body, it rapidly reacts with the tissues in contact. Medical personnel should be aware of its poisonous effects and be equally familiar with the necessary self-protection measures and the treatment protocols.