Chemical Analysis of Dumped Chemical Warfare Agents During the MODUM Project

  • Martin SöderströmEmail author
  • Anders Östin
  • Johanna Qvarnström
  • Roger Magnusson
  • Jenny Rattfelt-Nyholm
  • Merike Vaher
  • Piia Jõul
  • Heidi Lees
  • Mihkel Kaljurand
  • Marta Szubska
  • Paula Vanninen
  • Jacek Bełdowski
Conference paper
Part of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security book series (NAPSC)


MODUM project continued the work on monitoring of the chemical weapons (CW) dumped in the Baltic Sea started in previous projects. As a new aspect, on board analysis methods – headspace gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC–MS) and capillary electrophoresis (CE) – were developed and tested in laboratory conditions and during cruises. The GC–MS method could be successfully applied on board to verify that collected sediment samples contained degradation products for sulfur mustard, one of the major chemical warfare agents dumped in Baltic Sea. This method could in future project be used during cruises to redirect sample collection in order to make most of the available ship time. Other part of the analysis task during MODUM project was the work done at the reach back laboratories. These analyses were done to both verify the results obtain on board and to fully identify the chemicals related to the sea-dumped CW agents. Reach back analysis of CW-related chemicals were done on sediment samples collected around a wreck in Bornholm Deep (same samples as analyzed on board) and on monitoring samples collected in Bornholm, Gotland and Gdańsk Deeps. The samples from Bornholm and Gotland Deeps are in line with previous findings. Samples from Gdańsk Deep are in line with previous findings that this area has been used as a dump site. Additionally, α-chloroacetophenone (CN) was found in the area for the first time. In addition to the analysis of CW-related chemicals, a new method was developed for measurement for arsenic concentrations in sediment samples. A method was also developed for arsenic speciation, which could help in estimation of the source of arsenic in the sediments.



atomic emission detector


Automatic Mass spectral Deconvolution and Identification Software


atmospheric pressure chemical ionisation




background electrolyte


butylphosphonic acid


capacitively coupled contactless conductivity detector


chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear


capillary electrophoresis


Chemical Munitions Search and Assessment, an EU-funded project


chemical warfare


chemical warfare agent


Chemical Weapons Convention






extended economic zone


ethyl methylphosphonate


electrospray ionization


Swedish Defence Research Agency, Umeå, Sweden


gas chromatography


gas chromatography-mass spectrometry


gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry


sulphur mustard


high resolution mass spectrometry


inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry


Institute of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences




liquid chromatography-high mass spectrometry


limit of detection






Towards the Monitoring of Dumped Munitions Threat, a NATO-funded project


methylphosphonic acid


mass spectrometry


Military University of Technology, Warsaw, Poland


propyl methylphosphonate


propylphosphonic acid


part-per-billion (e.g. μg/kg)




selected ion monitoring


selected reaction monitoring




thiodiglycol sulfoxide


thiodiglycol sulfone




Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia


ultra-high performance liquid chromatography


Finnish Institute for Verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention, University of Helsinki, Finland


First World War


Second World War


X-ray fluorescence spectrometry


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Söderström
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anders Östin
    • 2
  • Johanna Qvarnström
    • 2
  • Roger Magnusson
    • 2
  • Jenny Rattfelt-Nyholm
    • 2
  • Merike Vaher
    • 3
  • Piia Jõul
    • 3
  • Heidi Lees
    • 3
  • Mihkel Kaljurand
    • 3
  • Marta Szubska
    • 4
  • Paula Vanninen
    • 1
  • Jacek Bełdowski
    • 4
  1. 1.Finnish Institute for Verification of the Chemical Weapons ConventionUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Swedish Defence Research AgencyUmeåSweden
  3. 3.Tallinn University of TechnologyTallinEstonia
  4. 4.Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of SciencesSopotPoland

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