The Army's Answer to Underwater Chemical Weapons Stash: Leave It There

Just after the end of World War Two, the US Army dumped 16,000 mustard gas bombs in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Hawaii. But don't worry, they have a solution: Just leave it where it is!

Each of the 16,000 bombs have a 73-pound payload of sulfur mustard, and are resting at 2,000 feet below the surface, five miles south of Pearl Harbor. That doesn't sounds good. So why doesn't the Army remove them? Besides being a pain in the ass to pull 16,000 bombs up from 2,000 feet below the surface of the ocean, well, who knows? The AP spoke to J.C. King, the Army's assistant for munitions and chemical matters:

King said the military's Explosives Safety Board believes the safest approach to underwater munitions is to leave them in place and to educate the public about what they should do when they find a shell.

Ah, okay. A recent study by the University of Hawaii says that the weapons pose no danger, but the shell casings are deteriorating and the Army should continue to monitor them. So perhaps that means the Army will check up on them every few years and wait for something bad to happen. Good thinking.

Mustard gas was used heavily during World War One, and is not fatal, but it is nasty. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sulfur mustard (mustard gas) can damage DNA, and sulfur mustard liquid "is more likely to produce second- and third- degree burns and later scarring than is exposure to sulfur mustard vapor. Extensive skin burning can be fatal." Oh, and it can make you blind.