The purpose of this manual is to provide basic information on biological toxins to
military leaders and health-care providers at all levels to help them make informed
decisions on protecting their troops from toxins. Much of the information contained
herein will also be of interest to individuals charged with countering domestic and
international terrorism. We typically fear what we do not understand. Although
understanding toxin poisoning is less useful in a toxin attack than knowledge of cold
injury on an Arctic battlefield, information on any threat reduces its potential to harm. I
hope that by providing information about the physical characteristics and biological
activities of toxins, the threat of toxins will actually be reduced. I did not intend to
provide detailed information on individual threat toxins or on medical prevention or
treatment. This primer puts toxins in context, attempts to remove the elements of mystery
and fear that surround them, and provides general information that will ultimately help
leaders make rational decisions, protect their soldiers and win battles.
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