Tear gas exposure is harmful, and others may be impacted by it more than you. Pregnant women, children, elderly, and those with immune deficiency disorders or other medical conditions (such as asthma) are especially prone to tear gas’ effects. If you are able to do so, assist others in seeking medical help. Even if you don’t immediately feel the effects, seek medical assistance quickly. Rinse your eyes and skin with cold water, and discard clothing that has been exposed as soon as possible. In some cases, water can actually reactivate the tear gas, which is why it is important to seek medical attention.
If you are pregnant, remain calm, but immediately leave the area. Tell others so that they can assist you. Get to the nearest emergency room and explain what has happened. Demand an ultrasound and a plan for follow-up care. Do not let a doctor brush off your exposure due to a lack of experience on his or her part. US Poison Control may state that at as long as you were in an open area, you probably are ok: this is not necessarily true.
If you are a police officer, please remember that innocent people may be harmed irreparably if you choose to use tear gas.
If you are a government official or concerned citizen, please join our efforts to ban CS gas and other chemical weapons.
Please share widely. If you would like to translate this into a foreign language so that this message can be more widely spread, email banteargasnow [at] hotmail [dot] com .
I have not had as much time to work on this site since school resumed, but Physicians for Human Rights has produced a telling report from their fieldwork on the effects of tear gas. Click here for their official report on the dangers of weaponizing tear gas. It is my hope that American officials will take heed when formulating policies on local control tactics. The debate over the ethics of allowing American military contractors to continue production and supply of this weapon to foreign governments must begin in earnest. Please share this link widely, and encourage your friends to do the same. Victims of tear gas and other conventional weapons deserve justice. But don’t just share, act! Write letters. Make phone calls. Research if not this, then other injustices. Ultimately, let’s shut down the industry that profits off death without limits or fear of consequences.
The following excerpt in bold is from “UN Report Outlines Dangers in Tear Gas, Defoliant Use” (12-22-1969, Medical tribune Report) and can be found in full here.
Permanent Injury From Tear Gases
The two most commonly used tear gases, CN (chloroacetophenone) and the more powerful CS (o-chlorobenzalmalo-nonitrile), the report warned, can inflict permanent injury. If gases could be delivered at precisely the right dosage, worked out in the laboratory, they would severely but only temporarily irritate the conjunctiva of the eyes and the inner surfaces of the upper respiratory tract, the WHO experts agreed, but they added the warning: “If enough of a sensory irritant is inhaled, it may produce the same sort of damage as that caused by a lethal lung irritant, such as phosgene.”