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SLU Expert Explains Chemical Weapons Response

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A stock photo of chemical weapons research. Carsten Koall/Getty Images

A stock photo of chemical weapons research. Carsten Koall/Getty Images

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - A local professor who previously worked at the Department of Homeland Security says the U.S. is well prepared to handle a chemical attack similar to the one seen in Syria last week.

“What we saw in Syria last week should shock the conscience of the world,” Secretary of State John Kerry said recently about a nerve gas attack. “It defies any code of morality.”

Saint Louis University epidemiologist Dr. Alexander Garza worked on chemical weapons responses during his four years at the DHS.

“What it does is basically it overwhelms the nervous system and then shuts it down,” he says, describing the effects of nerve gas.

“This threat is taken very seriously by the [Obama] administration. We are developing programs, policies, and procedures in order to combat the possible use of chemical weapons within the United States,” Garza adds.

Should such a threat come to fruition, Garza says Homeland Security would provide the immediate response with the Environmental Protection Agency taking over the cleanup.

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