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Date of last update: 10/18/2017.

Forum Name: Dermatology Topics

Question: CS tear gas with metholyne chloride exposure

 hlukie - Tue Dec 22, 2009 10:46 pm

Our home was tear gased with CS and Metholyne Chloride. A company came and remediated. We moved back after a 7 month process. I am having areas on my face hands, arms and legs looking like they are severly frost bit. My eyes are watering heavely in the AM when I awake and thru the morning. Is this symptoms from exposure to this tear gas?
 Dr.M.Aroon kamath - Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:47 am

User avatar Hi,
2-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile (CS), belongs to the family of "Riot control agents". They have also been referred to by some, as "harassing agents"!. The concentration in which it is deployed varies. The spray used by the British police forces contains 5% CS gas, while in the United States it contains 1%.

'Tear gas' is commonly released by 'bombs'(canisters) in the air as a mist of fine droplets or particles. Therefore, people could be exposed through eye contact, skin contact, or breathing it in.Severe traumatic injuries from exploding tear gas canisters have been documented.

It is delivered as a smoke or fog(mist) of suspended
particles. Its effectiveness as "Riot control agents" is based on its properties as an extremely severe skin and mucous membrane irritant and almost instantaneous lacrimator, even at minute doses.

The extent of potential harm due to tear gas depends on
- the surroundings (open-air, enclosed spaces),
- duration of exposure,and
- predominant type of exposure (eye contact, skin contact, or via breathing).

The effects of exposure to tear gas( esp;excessive lacrimation, blepharospasm) are usually short-lived (30-60 minutes) after the person has been removed from the source and decontaminated. Effects on skin may take longer to improve.

Toxicology data on CS are very limited, much of the research being military and some classified as secret.

CS is predominantly a potent lacrimator and seems to cause
less long-term injury, particularly with respect to the eye.

Long-lasting exposure (over an hour) or exposure to a large dose of tear gas, especially in an enclosed setting, may cause severe effects such as:
- Glaucoma (a serious eye condition that can lead to blindness)
- Death due to serious chemical airway burns
- chemical pneumonitis,
- hepatocellular damage,
- Respiratory failure possibly resulting in death and
- Blindness and
- and death.

Development of skin sensitization with contact dermatitis have been described in a number of experimental and observational studies on animals.

Whether these agents have any tumorigenic potential is at present unclear. Experimental studies are on-going.Some studies observed that chronic exposure to very low concentrations of CS is of greater concern and should be further studied.

Methylene Chloride, has been used as a solvent in some canisters of tear gas. When the propellant releases the gas at the time of deployment, some of this Methylene Chloride may get mixed up in the gas.

Some of the reported symptoms for exposure to methylene chloride include-- lethargy, mental confusion, headache, tingling of the limbs, tachycardia, visual and auditory hallucinations, menstrual irregularities, spontaneous abortion, and varying effects on lungs and the digestive system.

In your case surely, a dermatologist should be consulted, who after examining your lesions will be in a better position to form an opinion one way or the other.
Best wishes!

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