According to ABC several vials of potentially hazardous chemicals, originating from an Iraqi chemical facility have been found in a UN building but posed no immediate risk. UN deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe told “discovered what was yesterday identified as gram quantity of certain liquid substances, including phosgene, …which could be potentially hazardous”

According to Wikipedia, phosgene is a highly toxic chemical compound with the formula COCl2. This gas gained infamy as a chemical weapon during World War I, but it is also a valuable industrial reagent and building block in organic synthesis. It is colourless, but can appear as a white or yellowish haze when released into air, due to refraction of light. In low concentrations, its odor resembles recently cut hay or green corn (maize): at higher concentrations, it may be strongly unpleasant. In addition to its industrial production, small amounts occur naturally from the breakdown of chlorinated compounds and the combustion of chlorine-containing organic compounds.

PC: My University diploma project was about Phosgene :)

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