South Korea using outdated materials for chemical warfare training

South Korea's Defense Ministry is giving its soldiers aging and out-of-date materials for biological and chemical warfare exercises, according to a recent report submitted to the National Assembly's national defense committee.

South Korean lawmakers said that the ministry has only disposed of 44,367 out of 165,000 outdated materials of equipment between 2008 and 2011. The report raises concerns over the health of the soldiers and the practicality of the drills in the first place, the Korea Herald reports.

The materials that are still in use include 13-year-old emergency personal decontaminants and 29-year-old mask filters. Soldiers are using the same protective gear that has been used over the last 26 years in their current exercises, according to the Korea Herald.

The national defense committee criticized the ministry for poor management of its program to evaluate the standards and reliability of such protective equipment.

Early next year, the United States plans to move close to 300 soldiers to South Korea as part of the 61st and 62nd chemical companies, in addition to the headquarters and headquarters detachment of the 23rd chemical battalion. The chemical warfare battalion will help to provide biological, chemical and nuclear reconnaissance, support and equipment decontamination to both U.S. and South Korean forces, Stars and Stripes reports.