Ban Tear Gas Now!

Stop using chemical weapons on citizens of any nation.

Update on my fight

This week I embark on a new leg of my fight. Two years ago I lost my first pregnancy after being exposed to tear gas on a work assignment. Apparently, my employer (the University of Washington) didn’t feel it necessary to cover the medical expenses that resulted from this, despite my completing my duties at the expense of my health and my child’s life. In the past, I had never asked for more than the documented medical expenses, for which I had to submit multiple copies to multiple agents and tell my story repeatedly, when all I wanted to do was grieve in private. I am now preparing to take my case to the Washington State Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals. Again, I have a lot in my life I would rather be doing, like working on my thesis, or spending time with my family. Instead, I am researching tort law, insurance policies, and as always, the effects of the misleadingly named chemical weapon “tear gas.”

In preparing my case, I must also challenge the false information out there. The logic of many sources on the subject is that because there is limited information on the dangers of a chemical agent, that must mean it’s safe. The reality is that because it’s unethical to test chemical weapons on pregnant women, you won’t see lab studies on the subject. You’ll see news reports on the rising rates of miscarriages in areas hit by tear gas, but those reports are always secondary to the “real story”; the real stories reduce people killed and injured to nothing more than numbers, and treat governments and corporations as the only ones with anything to lose.

The real story is that this world is fucked, and it won’t change until we do something about it. Even if that something is telling the same story over and over until others take up the call, and force change.

I have told the story of what has happened to me to so many bureaucrats that the dates of what happened to me are forever burned into my head. For example, yesterday was the two year anniversary of the second ultrasound done to confirm my baby no longer had a heartbeat. Tomorrow is the two year anniversary of the day the miscarriage began in earnest. February 21 is the two year anniversary of the D&C for which I had to pay the hospital expenses out of pocket. And February 26 is the day I got on a plane heading home, alone (because my fiance and I couldn’t afford tickets on the same flight), seated behind a couple with their new baby, crying almost the entire way (me and the baby).

I am going to keep repeating these dates and my story, not only for fair recompense, but so that weapons manufacturers can no longer claim safety based on the lack of information. In what world does that logic make sense? Here’s some information: I lost my baby because I was exposed to a chemical weapon. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. It just takes a very stubborn researcher with an aptitude for fighting red tape to prove it to the powers that be.

If you want to join my fight, send an email to banteargas (at) hotmail.com, or leave a comment below with resources for others.

Suzanne

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4 thoughts on “Update on my fight

  1. Jeff Nguyen on said:

    There have been documented sources of high rates of birth defects and cancer in Fallujah after the U.S. miltary used white phosphorous. Similar health problems have been found in Vietnam where Agent Orange and other defoliants were used again by the military and manufactured by U.S. corporations such as DuPont and Monsonato.

    Best wishes to you in your journey for the health and justice you deserve.

    • Thank you, Jeff. These are very valid points, reminding us that tear gas is just one of the many chemical weapons/ agents we should be fighting. Best wishes to you as well.

      • Jeff Nguyen on said:

        Sorry, I should have said Dow Chemical Company not Dupont in my first comment. My condolences for all you have lost and suffered. My admiration and respect for the courage of convictions it has given you to speak up for yourself and others.

  2. Jeff Nguyen on said:

    Thought you would find this interesting: “Stripped of ‘Country of Origin’ Label, US Agrees to Sell Tear Gas to Egypt” http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/02/22-2

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