This is not an exhaustive list.
When time allows more information will be added.
Weapons Precursors for the production of sarin-family nerve agents
bifluoride - Wood Preservative - CAS No. 1341-49-7
bifluoride - Wood Preservative - CAS No. 7789-29-9
bifluoride - Insecticide; Former EPA List 3 Inert - CAS No.
- Insecticide, Wood Preservative - CAS No. 7681-49-4
... some of the precursor
chemicals which are early in the production process and/or are
widely produced in industry (and hence not considered suitable
for effective monitoring under the CWC [Chemical Weapons Convention])
have been included on the AGL [Australia Group List], because
they are either known or suspected to have been sought for CW
purposes. Such precursors include: ...the fluoride chemicals ...
for the production of sarin-family nerve agents...
14 [potassium fluoride]
24 [hydrogen fluoride]
41 [potassium bifluoride]
42 [ammonium bifluoride]
43 [sodium bifluoride]
44 [sodium fluoride]
A COMPARISON OF THE AUSTRALIA GROUP LIST OF CHEMICAL WEAPON PRECURSORS
AND THE CWC SCHEDULES OF CHEMICALS by Robert J. Mathews. September
1993. Quarterly Journal of the Harvard Sussex Program on CBW Armament
and Arms Limitation. Issue No. 21.
Bifluorides are used as a source of the
fluorine atom in the synthesis of all of the G-type nerve agents
except Tabun, in which the fluorine atom is replaced by
a cyanide group. All bifluorides are synthesized from ammonium
bifluoride. Ammonium bifluoride is in turn made from ammonium
fluoride which is made by the reaction of ammonium hydroxide with
hydrofluoric acid (HF.) Ammonia is manufactured on an extremely
large scale (>10 million tons per annum in the US) using the
Haber process, for which Fritz Haber (who played a major role
in the German chemical weapons program in World War I) won a Nobel
Prize. Worldwide hydrogen fluoride manufacture is approximately
400,000 tons. The quantities needed for manufacture of a stockpile
of G agent would be miniscule in comparison.
Ammonium fluoride is converted to the bifluoride by dehydrating
an aqueous solution of ammonium fluoride. The other bifluorides
are manufactured by essentially the same process, except that
the water, and the more volatile ammonia, are driven off in the
presence of a sodium or potassium compound.
Agent Precursors: Bifluorides: Ammonium bifluoride, Potassium
bifluoride, Sodium bifluoride.
UN Monitoring and Verification of Iraq's Compliance. The organofluorines
on this list include (pesticides
highlighted in red):
Potassium fluoride (7789-23-3)
Ammonium bifluoride (1341-49-7)
Sodium bifluoride (1333-83-1)
Sodium fluoride (7681-49-4)
Potassium bifluoride (7789-29-9)
Also included are fluoropolymers
(e.g. Aflex COP, Aflon COP 88, F 40, Ftorlon,
Ftoroplast, Neoflon, ETFE, Teflon, PVDF, Tefzel, PTFE, PE TFE
500 LZ, Haller).
& Biological Weapons. Fluorine chemicals.
from FAN: Sarin, a chemical weapon, was once used as an
Pest Control16(6): 4-9; 1974
Abstract excerpt: PESTAB. The article reviews the main types
of organophosphorus insecticides. Early examples such as
dimefox, tabun, sarin, pestox, and parathion had the disadvantage
of high mammalian toxicity...
[Note: dimefox and sarin are fluorinated.]
preservative, EPA List 4B Inert - CAS No. 7681-49-4
Fined $750,000 by Commerce Department For Illegal Chemical Shipments.
-- The Commerce Department's Under Secretary for Export Administration,
William A. Reinsch, imposed a civil penalty of $750,000 on Aluminum
Company of America (ALCOA) for 100 violations of U.S. export regulations
involving shipments of potassium fluoride and sodium
-- The penalty results from Reinsch's affirming an administrative
law judge's (ALJ) recommended findings in the case. The ALJ found
that ALCOA exported potassium fluoride and sodium
fluoride from the United States to Jamaica and Suriname
on 50 separate occasions without obtaining the required Commerce
Department export licenses. The violations occurred between June
1991 and December 1995. The ALJ also found
that the company made false statements on export control documents
in each shipment.
-- Potassium fluoride and sodium fluoride
are controlled because they can be used to make chemical weapons.
These chemicals were added to the Department's control list in
March 1991, but ALCOA's export compliance program failed to recognize
and incorporate the change. There was no indication that in this
case the chemicals were used for weapons purposes.
-- Reinsch observed, "This penalty should send the message that
there are significant advantages to having an internal compliance
program that catches and reports problems quickly."
-- Reinsch's action imposes the maximum civil penalty of $10,000
for each of the 50 shipping without a license violations. He also
imposed a penalty of $5,000 for each false statement.
-- Commerce's Export Administration Regulations provide that an
administrative law judge administrative enforcement proceedings
be conducted by who recommends an appropriate resolution of the
case to the Under Secretary for Export Administration. The Under
Secretary may affirm, modify, or vacate the ALJ's recommendation.
In this case, Reinsch agreed with the findings but modified the
penalties recommended by the ALJ. Reinsch's order and the ALJ's
recommendations will be printed in the Federal Register.
Press Release. February 19,1999. ALCOA Fined $750,000 by Commerce
Department For Illegal Chemical Shipments. U. S. Department of
Commerce Bureau of Export Administration.
Some excerpts from the ALJ's decision
published in the
Register, August 5, 1999:
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
Bureau of Export Administration
[Docket No.: 97–BXA–20]
Re: Aluminum Company of America
On Friday, February 26, 1999, the Federal Register published the
Decision and Order issued by the Under Secretary for Export Administration,
Bureau of Export Administration, United States Department of Commerce
(BXA) on February 19, 1999 (64 FR 9471). However,
the Recommended Decision and Order of the Administration Law Judge
(ALJ) was inadvertently not included
with the Order of the Under Secretary. This notice is to hereby
publish the December 21, 1998, Recommended and Decision Order
of the ALJ.
Dated: July 21, 1999.
William A. Reinsch,
Under Secretary for Export Administration.
... 9. During the review period, the water
treatment facility in Suriname used sodium fluoride to treat drinking
water. Sodium fluoride was used by the ALCOA facility in Suriname
to treat drinking water for people living in the Suralco refinery
area. All of the sodium fluoride exported from the United
States to Suriname was used by this ALCOA subsidiary facility
and was fully consumed in the water treatment process. ALCOA sold
the water treatment facility to the government of Suriname in
July 1994. Therefore, Suralco no longer uses any sodium fluoride
(See Respondent’s Answer dated January 20,
1998, page 3).
5. All of the potassium fluoride and Sodium
Fluoride exports at issue in this case were sent to ALCOA’s
refinery operations in Jamaica (Jamalco) and Suriname (Suralco).
These refineries are located near bauxite mines. Bauxite is the
raw ore for aluminum. The refineries process the bauxite so as
to extract aluminum oride (alumina), which becomes the basic feedstock
for ALCOA’s metal and chemical businesses. Both refineries
were directly controlled by ALCOA during the period June 14, 1991
through December 7, 1995
3. Potassium fluoride is the key reagent used during the refining
of alumina from its bauxite ore. Bauxite is crushed and mixed
with a caustic soda solution. This solution dissolves the alumina
present in the bauxite. Potassium fluoride is used to determine
the level of dissolved alumina in the caustic solution. Only a
small amount of potassium fluoride is used per metric ton of bauxite
processed (see Respondent’s Answer dated January 20, 1998,
23. On March 13, 1991, through a notice published in the Federal
Register, entitled Expansion of Foreign policy Controls on Chemical
Weapons Precursors (56 Fed. Reg 10756), the Department of Commerce
amended the Commerce Control List of the Export Administration
Regulations (currently codified at 15 C.F.R. Parts 730–774
(1997)),2 ‘‘by expanding the
number of countries for
which a validated license is required for 39 precursor chemicals.
Under the rule, the 39 chemicals will require a validated license
for export to all destinations except NATO member countries, Australia,
Austria, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, and Switzerland.’’
Potassium fluoride and
sodium fluoride were included on the list of 39 chemicals
... Of all the aggravating factors in this case, one is particularly
damming—that the Respondent, over a period of four and one-half
(4.5) years, made 50 separate exports of potassium fluoride and/or
sodium fluoride in violation of the Export Administration Regulations
(emphasis added). Importantly, ALCOA is not a new or small company
that doesn’t understand the foreign export regulatory process.
Quite to the contrary, the Respondent is a large multinational
corporation which had a separate division (Export Supply Division)
specifically dedicated to receiving requisitions, locating suppliers,
purchasing products, and shipping the requested items in accordance
with applicable export licensing requirements. Thus, ALCOA’s
conduct, under this backdrop, was flatly inexcusable and the fact
that the violations were not intentional or willful is only relevant
to the fact that a federal criminal indictment was not handed
down. Respondent’s failure to comprehend the change in the
Federal Register Notice,
given the existence of its Export Supply Division, is also particularly
troubling.1 Moreover, the fact that the unlawful shipments consisted
of precursors for chemical weapons, regardless of the lack of
any potential diversion in these instances, is not something that
should be viewed as a technical oversight and is clearly an aggravating
In mitigation, ALCOA argues that had it applied for the necessary
validated licenses, they would have been presumptively granted.
This argument misses the point. Over the past 20 years, a terrorist
threat has developed to our Republic and our interests aboard.
In order to protect our country and our interests, laws and regulations
were passed/implemented to allow the government to monitor and
regulate the export of precursor chemicals and if necessary, prevent
any such exports that pose a clear and present danger. Given the
huge number of exports from the United States, how is the government
suppose to monitor the export of precursor chemicals if it doesn’t
know that the shipments were being made over a four and one-half
year period? ALCOA responds that it filed under general license
G–DEST and implies that the government was aware of these
50 separate exports over a four and one-half year period (See
Respondent’s Answer dated January 20, 1998, page 8). I disagree.
The Respondent did not submit any evidence to support this position.
The Respondent cannot shift its responsibility to the government
to do that which it is legally required to do. Given the volume
of such exports and the limited public resources to regulate these
shipments, at the refineries of the Respondent’s subsidiary
companies in Jamaica and Suriname. Once again, ALCOA misses the
point. The crucial point here is that the government was deprived
of possible vital information in its fight to control terrorism.
In other words, if the world-wide export of chemicals/biological
agents were a puzzle being put together by a U.S. Department of
Commerce security team, this information constituted 50 pieces
of that puzzle that the government did not have. While it turned
out that there was no problem, the fact remains that the government
did not have the whole picture. Without the whole picture, or
in this case, all of the information about precursor chemical
exports, catastrophic errors in preventative decision-making could
... The Respondent states that anything more than a nominal fine
in this case is unreasonable. In support of this position, ALCOA
argues that recent BXA enforcement orders based on settlement
agreements establish a range from $2,000 per violation to $5,000
per violation, large portions of which were suspended. The Respondent
cites the following settlements in support of it’s argument
that the government’s proposed $7,500 per violation is excessive
and inconsistent with past BXA practice:
... 3. Sierra Rutil America, Inc. case—The
Respondent was charged with eight unlicensed
exports of sodium fluoride to Sierra Leone over a two year
period in violation of § 787.6. The settlement resulted in
a $30,000 fine or $3,750 per violation with half of the fine remitted
on probation. This case did not involve exports to controlled
or affiliated entities.
5. Snytex case—The Respondent
was charged with 13 violations of unlawfully exporting
hydrogen fluoride in violation of § 787.2. The fine
was $65,000 or $5,000 per violation. One half of the fine was
remitted for 2 years and then waived if there were no further
6. Palmeros Forwarding case—The
Respondent was charged with 10 violations wherein it used export
control documents which represented that the Syntex
hydrogen fluoride did not need export licenses. The fine
was $50,000 or $5,000 per violation with a two year denial of
export privileges. The fine was export privilege denial were suspended
The Respondent argues in mitigation that it has no prior record
of violations. I find this argument is entitled to little or no
weight given the fact that for four and one-half years, the Respondent
committed one hundred violations of the EAR. Indeed, It is not
the prior record that is important here, but the
aggravating factor of 100 violations and the Indeed, the government
might well have opted to argue in a criminal forum that ALCOA’s
conduct was so grossly negligent as to constitute a willful disregard
of federal law. In this case, the amount of care demanded by the
standard of reasonable
conduct on the part of the Respondent must be in proportion to
the apparent risk. As the danger becomes greater, the Respondent
is required to exercise caution commensurate
with that increased risk. Since the Respondent was dealing with
precursors for chemical weapons, the March 13, 1991 Federal Register
Notice constructively put it on notice that it must exercise a
great amount of care because the risk is great. It failed to do
Importantly, the government voluntarily lowered the sanction bar
all the way down to the level of an administrative civil penalty
in this case. That having been done, the Respondent argues that
the government is being harsh and should lower the bar further.
In effect, the Respondent is attempting to have the government
negotiate with itself. This is wrong. Based upon the detailed
discussion set forth above, I find the appropriate sanction for
each of these unlawful shipments is $10,000. The Respondent is
a huge multi-national corporation. As such, a $10,000 penalty
per violation is minuscule for ALCOA who describes itself as ‘‘one
of the world’s leading producers of aluminum.* * *’’.
At no time during this proceeding, did ALCOA’s counsel raise
financial hardships for mitigating any civil penalty. At some
point, ALCOA has to stand up and take responsibility for it’s
gross and long-standing breach of legal duty. Conversely, the
United States government must set its civil penalties at a high
enough level to insure that large multi-national corporations
don’t ignore the law and if they get caught, merely consider
the fine as a cost of doing business...
(PTFE: polytetrafluoroethylene) - US EPA Pesticide List 3 Inert
- CAS No. 9002-84-0
of The Toxicology
of Perfluoroisobutene by Jiri Patocka and Jiri Bajgar.
... is a fluoro-olefin produced by thermal decomposition of polytetrafluoroethylene
(PTFE), e.g., Teflon .
Overheating of PTFE generates fumes of highly toxic PFIB and poses
a serious health hazard to the human respiratory tract. PFIB
is approximately ten times as toxic as phosgene . Inhalation
of this gas can cause pulmonary edema, which can lead to death.
PFIB is included in Schedule 2 of the Chemical Weapons Convention
(CWC), as a result of the prompting by one delegation to
the Conference on Disarmament . The aim of the inclusion of
chemicals, such as PFIB was to cover those chemicals, which would
pose a high risk to the CWC. Subsequently PFIB, specifically,
was included in the final text of the CWC.
. Zeifman, Y.B., Ter-Gabrielyan, N.P., Knunyants, I.L. The
Chemistry of Perfluoroisobutylene. Uspekhi Khimii, 1984; 53: 431-461.
. Oberdorster, G., Ferin, J., Gelein, J., Finkelstein, R.,
Baggs, R., Effects of PTFE Fumes in the Respiratory Tract: A Particle
Effect? Aerospace Medical Assiciation 65th Annual Scientific Meeting,
1994; 538: A52.
. CD/CW/WP.239. Verification of the Nonproduction of Chemical
Weapons: An Illustrative Example of the Problem of Novel Toxic
Chemicals. 12 April 1989.
Toxicology of Perfluoroisobutene by Jiri Patocka and Jiri Bajgar
(Department of Toxicology, Military Medical Academy 500 01 Hradec,
Czech Republic). The ASA Newsletter (Applied Science and Analysis,