Leaking mustard weapons found at Colo. depot

Army officials at the Pueblo Chemical Depot in Pueblo, Colo., say that three shells leaking mustard agent vapor have been resealed.

Chuck Sprague, a spokesman for the Pueblo Chemical Depot, told the Associated Press that none of the mustard vapor escaped the bunker in which the shells are stored.

Sprague said that the leaks were very small and no one was injured during the resealing process.

The leaking shells were discovered on June 8 after vapor had been detected in the bunker in late May. The resealing crews completed their work on Monday.

The shells were being kept in sealed containers due either to prior leaks or because the shells had been drilled during testing, Sprague said. Crews have placed the shells inside new, larger sealed containers.

Skin contact with mustard agent can produce first and second-degree chemical burns, with more severe burns from the gas often proving fatal. Inhalation of large quantities of mustard gas can result in bleeding and blistering within the respiratory system, as well as damage to mucus membranes, which may cause pulmonary edema.

The Pueblo Chemical Depot currently stores 2,600 tons of mustard agent awaiting destruction under an international treaty.

More than 500 of the depot's 780,000 weapons have been found to be leaking over the years.