Colorado

Jun 8, 2010 2:17 PM by Greg Boyce

Fisherman blistered by mustard agent

A Massachusetts doctor treating a commercial fisherman who was sickened after his boat pulled up munitions tainted with chemicals says tests show he was exposed to mustard gas.

Dr. Edward Boyer, a toxicologist at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Mass., says the man had painful blisters on an arm and leg. He says the patient is "handling it very well."  The U.S. Coast Guard said the Massachusetts-based vessel, the ESS Pursuit, dredged up two shells Sunday about 45 miles south of Long Island. The crew threw the items back into the ocean when the man began developing blisters.

The boat remains isolated off the coast of New Bedford. The U.S. military used the ocean as a dumping ground for munitions, including a mustard agent, from after World War II through the 1960s.

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