Before you walk head-on into a cloud of tear gas at your next protest, rally or sporting event, let's make sure you're well-acquainted with this riot-suppressing chemical. Ready? Take a deep breath and move on to the first question.
Tear gas may have provoked general sadness in the old Disney cartoons, but it's nothing more than a chemical irritant. The tears are just your immune system's way of cleaning it all out.
Tear gas chemicals are known as lacrimators, which comes from the Greek word "lacrima."
Developed in the late 1950s, ortho-chlorobenzalmalononitrile (CS) remains the most popular and effective lacrimator.
Under normal exposure conditions, most symptoms of CS gas exposure subside in an hour or less.
True. Tear gas is banned in warfare by the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention. Domestic usage, however, is still legal.
True. Some people exhibit genetic or acquired immunity to the irritant. Instead of incapacitating them, the gas might make them sneeze.
False. Prolonged or heavy exposure to CS gas can result in death due to serious internal chemical burns or respiratory failure.
Thank your lucky stars, protesters, because there's no such thing as CS-Ultra. Yet.
Your instincts will kick in to remind you of this, but the first step you should take is to flee from the tear gas. Prolonged exposure will only make matters worse.
Normal soap and water should do the trick.