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Sampling, Detection and Screening of Chemicals Related to the Chemical Weapons Convention

Chemical Weapons Chemicals Analysis

  1. Colin Pottage,
  2. Margaret E. Buckley

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a0411.pub2

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Pottage, C. and Buckley, M. E. 2010. Sampling, Detection and Screening of Chemicals Related to the Chemical Weapons Convention. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Salisbury, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which came into force on April 29, 1997, prohibits the development, production, stockpiling, and the use of chemical weapons (CW). It is administered by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is based in The Hague. The CWC verification regime requires States Parties to declare the use of CW-related chemicals, which may be used legitimately for nonprohibited purposes, and allows for OPCW inspections of production sites.

During the course of inspections, there may be a requirement for the inspection team (IT) to investigate unresolved ambiguities. The IT has the right to request clarification and, if these ambiguities cannot be clarified by negotiation, then samples may be taken for analysis.

Examples of sampling equipment, procedures, and sample management techniques are described, together with a brief description of screening and detection. Some analyses may be performed on-site by the inspectors, using equipment brought with them, but for the resolution of more difficult ambiguities it may be necessary to send a sample for off-site analysis, maintaining the anonymity of its origin, in two or more of a global network of laboratories “designated” by the OPCW. The results of any sampling and analysis process must be able to stand up to international scrutiny, and therefore chain-of-custody or audit-trail procedures must be strictly followed. The process should allow the re-creation of the position or state of the sample at any time during the handling of the sample from collection through to disposal.


  • chemical weapons;
  • prohibition;
  • verification regime;
  • production stockpiling and use;
  • OPCW