French hospitals to stock chemical weapon antidote
The French government has authorised the country's hospitals to be equipped with atropine sulfate, the only antidote available to certain toxic gas attacks.
The decision was made Sunday, two days after the deadly attack in Paris that killed at least 129 people. Authorities had already been considering the move ahead of the upcoming COP21 global climate conference to be held in Paris later this month.
The climate conference, which is set to begin Nov. 30, will draw about 40,000 delegates as well as many heads of state over an 11-day period. Since Friday's attacks, 115,000 security personnel have been mobilized throughout the country.
Atropine sulfate is the only effective treatment for people who have been exposed to neurotoxic gases such as sarin, VX or Tabun. This antidote is usually used to protect soldiers in war zones who may be subject to chemical attack. According to a decree published in the French Official Gazette Sunday, the central military pharmacy will supply the product.
"The risk of terrorist attacks and the risk of exposure to neurotoxic organophosphates are serious health risks that require urgent measures," Chief National Medical Officer Benoît Vallet said in the decree.