Reevaluating tear gas toxicity and safety


Tear gases, or chemical demonstration control agents (DCA), were originally created as weapons that could severely disable or kill enemy troops. Though banned in war, these chemicals are still used in domestic policing. Here we review the available scientific literature on tear gas, summarizing findings from animal and environmental studies as well describing data from new human studies. We find a lack of scientific evidence supporting the safety of tear gas, especially regarding its long-term impacts on human health and the environment. Many of the available studies were published decades ago, and do not parse data by variables such as chemical type and exposure time, nor do they account for the diversity of individuals who are exposed to tear gas in real-life situations. Due to the dearth of scientific research and the misinterpretation of some of the available studies, we conclude that a serious reevaluation of chemical DCA safety and more comprehensive exposure follow-up studies are necessary.

Authors: Jennifer L Brown, Carey E Lyons, Carlee Toddes, Timothy Monko, Roman Tyshynsky
; Full Source: Inhalation toxicology 2021 Sep 12;1-16. doi: 10.1080/08958378.2021.1963887.