Is botulism neurotoxin really considered to be a potential biological weapon?
Yes. However, the neurotoxin rapidly inactivates when exposed to air and is relatively unstable even in liquid formulations.
Even with these drawbacks, the neurotoxin has been used sporadically in attempts to harm or kill individuals. Botulinum toxin could be used to contaminate food supplies, but some experts suggest that dissemination of the toxin as an aerosol would be more effective.
During the Gulf War, Iraq reportedly produced 20,000 L of botulinum toxin and used 12,000 L for field-testing and to fill warheads, but the shells were not used.
The Aum Shinrikyo cult in Japan tried and failed three times to use the toxin as an aerosol weapon.
Scientists in Russia also have experimented with botulinum toxin as a weapon. These situations are described in detail in the literature that discusses chemical and biological warfare.
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