Definition Any of a family of smokeless propellants developed in the UK in the 19th century to replace gunpowder, which produces clouds of dark smoke.
Toxicology It contains nitroglycerin (58% by weight) which causes headaches, nausea, vomiting. The transient tolerance to cordite (CD) is lost over the weekends; the return to work caused the so-called Monday deaths.
CD propellants were commonly used in WW I and WW II, including in the detonation system of Little Boy, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in August 1945. They were slowly replaced with the last manufacturing facility closing in the UK in the late 20th century. CD’s sweet taste inspired some to modify it for use as chewing gum. Aggressive mastication resulted in a bit more bang for the buck than bargained for by bubble gum buffs, not to mention the occasional death.