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lewisite

lewisite (lōˈəsĪtˌ) [key], liquid chemical compound used as a poison gas. Like mustard gas and nitrogen mustard, it is a blistering agent; when inhaled, it is a powerful respiratory irritant. The absorption of lewisite, which penetrates ordinary clothing and even rubber, through the skin may be fatal. Chemically, lewisite is dichloro-2-chlorovinyl arsine, ClCHCHAsCl2. It boils with decomposition at 190°C, and its vapor has a faint odor of geraniums. Lewisite is neutralized by reaction with British antilewisite (2, 3-dimercapto-1-propanol). It is named after its developer, the American chemist Winford Lee Lewis.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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