The 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), signed and ratified by 192 state-parties globally, is a multilateral treaty that bans the use of chemical weapons under international humanitarian law, and requires their destruction within a specified period of time.
The treaty prohibits the developing, producing, acquiring, stockpiling, or retaining of chemical weapons; the direct or indirect transfer of chemical weapons; the use of chemical weapons by the military; the assistance, inducement or encouragement of other states to engage in CWC-prohibited activity; and the use of riot control agents as a method of warfare.
Thankfully, acquiring, producing, and dispersing chemical agents is more easily said than done, as many CWAs are dangerous to acquire and handle; require highly sophisticated expertise and technology to produce and are often difficult to disperse in a sufficient quantity to inflict harm.
Nonetheless, it is vital not to underestimate the inherent risk to global security of any deliberate chemical attack. With that awareness comes an increasing need for military personnel and first response teams to be prepared for the unique challenges of an act of chemical warfare.