CS/CN Long Term Effects Scott Weinstein

One of my very closest friends, an amazing, strong, sweet, raging woman, contacted me today. She's had steadily worsening lung problems and 4 bouts of pneumonia in the past year, due to some kind of blockage in her lower left lobe that is probably an adenoma. Very active, physically well, takes (relatively!) good care of herself, eats very well, lives in a remote, pristine region. She pinpoints the beginnings of her lung complaints to the FTAA in Quebec City, where she was very heavily gassed on a number of occasions. 2 different respirologists have confirmed that they would not rule out chemical weapons/ propellant exposure as the root of her illness, and that they DO rule out exposure to smoke (wood, tobacco, etc.)….

Scott from Montreal — …I remember you were doing extensive research of health effects of CS/CN exposure — any advice or contacts? She's been video documenting others with long term health complications from chemical weapons exposure and is looking to do something with all of this, once she's recovered — a documentary, series of articles, civil suit, something useful. She says, "Everywhere i go i'm meeting activists who have spent the past seven years wondering what the hell is happening to their health, some pretty weird shit too."

Jan 2, 2009 — To answer your questions, I only have information on the short and long term health effects of tear gas (CS) and pepper spray (OC). I do not know of any forums, lists or support groups for those exposed and significantly affected.

The health effects we know of come from both published studies and our own studies from the CS used in the FTAA Quebec City protests in 2001 from both a email survey of protesters and a larger more scientific of residents who were not protesters and were/were not exposed to the tear gas. Note that the CS used in Quebec was more or less pure, without solvents added like methalyne chloride (used in the Seattle WTO protests). We do not have good information on the Israeli or Greek chemical weapons which could be mixed with solvents etc.

Both Quebec surveys of protesters and non-protesting residents had similar results (which ruled out symptoms due to the trauma or stress of being in an intense action). They showed that as of several months post event, about 1/4 of the people exposed got sick beyond the immediate coughing, choking, etc. Some were sick with longer term pulmonary illnesses and a few immune suppression incidents. I believe one protester got Guillian-Barre.

1/4 of the women exposed who were still menstruating, had menstrual irregularities after (which tends to support the hypothesis that these chemical weapons are hormone disrupters).

Our conclusion was that chemical weapons such as tear gas, are like cigarettes in that people 'get used to breathing it' without choking, but all the while, they are getting more toxified. This is what makes them insidious — as people stay in the chemical weapon atmosphere longer because they think that if they are not coughing and choking, they are not being affected. However, our survey doesn't show any correlation between length or degree of exposure, and illness. We conclude that symptoms are also determined by the person's individual response to the chemicals.

The residents study was really important in several aspects — it was a large sample size (over 100 people); it was random — we went door to door interviewing people who were and were not exposed to tear gas and documented their health after the protests; and it was a real world situation of people being exposed to tear gas (most in their homes or while walking outside after the protests) — instead of a controlled experiment of people — like soldier volunteers being deliberately exposed to tear gas in a shed and then studied. Most significantly, it was the first study to prove that tear gas effects menstruation negatively.

Significantly, it confirmed what other science studies documented, that these chemical weapons are hazardous to your health. Some of those studies document that chemical weapons have adverse effects on hearth function and blood pressure, can be cancerous, and cause genetic disruptions in one's future children.

To put it in layman's terms: Tear gas and pepper spray are very dangerous chemicals and need to be banned from domestic use as they are banned from international warfare under the the Chemical and Biological Weapons Convention.

The best source for the other science studies comes from:

European Parliament STOA Crowd Control
Technologies and Technical Annex:

(note that the web sources change so try different sites.)

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