Exports: A Deadly Solvent

A Deadly Solvent

When Iraq used poison gas to kill Kurdish civilians last year, the U.S. joined other nations in condemning chemical warfare. But last week it became clear that at least one American company has helped spread the deadly weapons. After Customs Service agents accused Baltimore-based Alcolac International, Inc., of illegally shipping hundreds of tons of thiodiglycol, a solvent that can be used in making mustard gas, the firm agreed to plead guilty to violating export laws. Prosecutors believe the chemical shipments eventually arrived in Iraq and Iran.

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