29 September 2023 Bulletin

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Nitrogen Mustards

Nitrogen mustards are vesicants (blister agents) and alkylating agents. They are colourless to pale yellow, oily liquids that evaporate slowly. [1] They are also known by their military designations of HN-1, HN-2, and HN-3. [2] HN-1 has a faint, fishy or musty odour. It is sparingly soluble in water but miscible with acetone and other organic solvents. At temperatures greater than 194ºC, it decomposes. HN-2 has a fruity odour at high concentrations and a soapy odour at low concentrations. Its solubility is similar to HN-1. HN-3 is odourless when pure but has been reported to have a butter almond odour. It is the most stable of the nitrogen mustards but decomposes at temperatures greater than 256ºC. It has a much lower vapour pressure than HN-1 or HN-2 and is insoluble in water. [1,2]

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