Tear gas: Is it an effective method for crowd control or a toxic chemical weapon?
Hi everyone. I'm Reina, guest hosting on DNews.
Tear gas, most commonly used for dispersing unruly crowds is potentially more dangerous than you think.
The key active ingredient, called 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile is a chemical that activates large amounts of pain receptors in the eyes and respiratory system by irritating the membranes.
This causes the eyes to start tearing and closing involuntarily along with causing breathing complications, which instantly incapacitates you.
But that's not all.
It can even cause chemical burns to exposed skin. The breathing complications can mimic a choking sensation, which can lead to panic, and that panic can lead to confusion and disorientation.
Most individuals that were hit with tear gas used the word "pain" to describe their experience.
An effective defense against tear gas is a gas mask, but those aren't easy to come by.
Some protesters suggest making a makeshift mask by soaking a bandana in lemon juice or cider vinegar.
The acidified cloth supposedly helps block the gas and should give you enough time to flee the area.
But be aware that it's not proven that this method will work.
The worst part about tear gas is that treatment after being exposed is virtually non-existent.
The best you can do is wash your eyes out thoroughly, spit, cough, blow your nose, do anything and everything to expel the chemicals out of your body.
Medical experts also suggest taking a cold shower because warm water can open your pores and allow for the toxic particles to seep further into your body.
Some suggest using saline solutions or milk to counteract the acidity in the tear gas, but the only truly effective rinse is with diphoterine, which is a solution used to decontaminate chemical splashes by neutralizing acids.
But who has access to THAT?
Another alarming issue with the use of tear gas is that toxicology data is particularly limited because much of the research being done on it is military-based and therefore classified.
Not only that, long term effects of exposure is practically unknown.
There have been some studies done to measure short term and long term effects, but the sample population in the experiments have been rather small, which can lead to potential systematic bias and error in measuring the results.
However, the study did find that even after ten months post exposure, many reported that they experienced respiratory issues like coughing fits, the worsening of their asthma, decreased exercise tolerance, and even ocular ulcers.
How do you feel about the over-usage of tear gas for crowd control?
Let us know in comment section below.
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