Infographic: 40 Years of Successful Action
Celebrating 40 Years!
U.S. Chemical Weapons Elimination Program’s Key Successes
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) oversees the U.S. chemical weapons elimination program. We’ve worked for 40 years to keep Americans safe from dangerous chemical warfare materials by monitoring the process for safely destroying them and making sure workers and nearby communities stay safe and healthy.
What are chemical weapons?
Chemical weapons, like mustard gas and sarin, are weapons that use toxic substances to harm human health.
40 Years of Successful Action
Over 30,000 tons of America’s chemical weapons have been eliminated.
100% of stored chemical weapons have been successfully destroyed.
9 of 9 facilities used to destroy chemical weapons have completed weapons destruction.
CDC has overseen 22 million man-hours of work with no lost time to accidents.
U.S. Chemical Weapons Elimination Timeline
1910s – 1950s: The United States starts to make and store chemical weapons during World War I. This continues during and after World War II.
1960s: The chemical weapons have never been used. By the late 1960s, they are outdated and an increasing threat to the public the longer they are left in storage.
1970: Congress asks the surgeon general to make sure to protect public health as the Army destroys the weapons.
1983: CDC takes on the task of keeping the public safe while the Department of Defense (DoD) works to destroy these weapons safely.
1986: Congress passes a law ordering the destruction of all stockpiled U.S. chemical weapons.
1997: With more than 150 other nations, the United States approves the Chemical Weapons Convention, an international treaty to destroy all chemical weapons.
2012: The United States reaches the milestone of successfully destroying 90% of its stored chemical weapons.
2016: Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant begins destruction of mustard munitions.
2019: Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) begins destruction of mustard agent.
2020: BGCAPP begins destruction of nerve agent munitions.
2023: Destruction of the United States’ chemical stockpile is 100% complete.
To learn more about our work, visit http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/demil/.