Fluoride Action Network

A Comparison of the Australia Group List of Chemical Weapon Precursors and the CWC Schedules of Chemicals

Source: Chemical Weapons Convention Bulletin | September 3rd, 1993 | Issue No. 21
Industry type: Chemical Weapons

Excerpts (see full Bulletin):

At first glance, the list of 54 individual chemicals in the table on page 3, the Australia Group List (AGL), looks rather different from the schedules of chemicals set out in the Annex on Chemicals of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), where the different schedules contain both chemical-warfare agents and precursors, with some listed as individual chemicals and some as families of chemicals.

These apparent differences may have caused some confusion to officials involved in the implementation of export controls on the CW precursor chemicals and preparing for implementation of the CWC (eg. government, trade and industry officials, chemical traders and the chemical industry).

The purpose of this paper is briefly to outline the development of these lists, and to explain the differences in the two lists on the basis of their different objectives.

… It is not surprising that many of the individual precursor chemicals on the AGL are also covered under the CWC schedules, either as an individually listed chemical or as a member of a family of chemicals. However, because of the more limited and highly focussed nature of the objectives of the AGL, 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) have been included on the AGL, because they are either known or suspected to have been sought for CW purposes. Such precursors include:

• the fluoride chemicals (chemicals 14, 24, 41, 42, 43 and 44) for the production of sarin-family nerve agents…

14. potassium fluoride [7789-23-3]
24. hydrogen fluoride [7664-39-3]
41. potassium bifluoride [7789-29-9]
42. ammonium bifluoride [1341-49-7]
43. sodium bifluoride [1333-83-1]
44. sodium fluoride [7681-49-4]

Also listed:

4. methylphosphonyl difluoride (DF) [676-99-3]
23. ethylphosphonyl difluoride [753-98-0]
35. ethylphosphonous difluoride [430-78-4]
36. methylphosphonous difluoride [753-59-3]