Does Tear Gas Release Cancer-Causing Dioxin?


Posted by Ed 2 mths ago
Some Hongkongers Contracted Chloracne, Likely From Harmful Chemicals in Tear Gas

Several medical experts published a joint open letter calling on the Hong Kong police to give more consideration to public health and safety.

“It is not an exaggeration to say chloracne is incurable. Dioxins and dioxin-like compounds are very stable—once absorbed into the body, it is difficult to excrete and their half-life is as long as 20 years. In other words, when these compounds enter your body, there is no cure. The medication prescribed by doctors can only relieve the symptoms temporarily,” the letter stated.

What is even worse is that chloracne is simply the symptom of early-stage poisoning from the highly toxic dioxins, according to these experts.

If dioxins inside the human body exceed the safe limit, they may eventually lead to serious health issues such as various cancers, weakened immunity, and endocrine disorders. For pregnant women, dioxins can cause miscarriage or deformed fetus, and dioxins may likely be passed on to the baby.

The medical experts pointed out that upon firing, the temperature of the tear gas goes above 400 degrees Celsius (752 degrees Fahrenheit). At such a high temperature, the main component of tear gas, chloroacetophenone (CN), will release dioxin-like compounds, which can enter the human body through skin contact, food, water and inhalation.

They believe that for journalists who are at the front lines, skin contact is one of the major routes. Even with protective equipment such as a mask or a respirator, some parts of the body are still exposed to the surroundings.


Ed 2 mths ago

The Hong Kong police force has deployed more than 9,000 rounds of tear gas in the city since June in responding to antigovernment protests. 

The Hong Kong police have not released detailed information of the type of agents they are deploying.
The force previously imported tear gas from British and American suppliers, but with those supply sources in potential jeopardy over human rights concerns, officials have confirmed new purchases from manufacturers in mainland China.

Some police have said the Chinese tear gas canisters produce denser smoke and can more quickly incapacitate targets.

Recently, a journalist repeatedly exposed to tear gas during his front-line reporting was diagnosed with chloracne, a hallmark effect of dioxin exposure.
The police have confirmed that their tear gas rounds may contain dioxin yet there has been no government-led effort to comprehensively assess the environmental impact on affected areas. 

Ed 2 mths ago
Health Secretary Sophia Chan told lawmakers on Wednesday that the manufacturing details and chemical composition of tear gas used by the police can't be revealed as the force wants such information to be kept secret for operational reasons. 

Ed 46 days ago
Dead birds and rashes: Hong Kong residents fear teargas poisoning
Police have fired 10,000 canisters in protests, sparking health scare over possible harmful effects
Angel Chan is more cautious about where she takes her two children, aged three and five, to play these days.

“Police have thrown teargas all over the city – some of my friends say their children have come out in rashes,” Chan said. “I simply don’t know where to find a safe spot any more.”

'Parenting here means checking the ingredients of teargas': my return to Hong Kong
Chan is just one of many Hong Kong parents anxious about the harmful effects of teargas on their children.
The Hong Kong Mothers group said last week it had collected 1,188 complaints, including about skin allergies and coughing, with the youngest victim being just two months old. They have urged the government to reveal the chemical composition of the teargas used by police.

During Hong Kong’s six-month political crisis, which has escalated into violent confrontations between protesters and police, about 10,000 canisters of teargas have been fired by police across almost every district of this densely populated city.

The recent sightings of dead birds in several districts where teargas canisters have been fired, and news that a frontline reporter has been diagnosed with chloracne, a skin disease linked to dioxin exposure, have sparked a health scare over the harmful effects of the noxious gas on the health of Hong Kong’s population. 

< Back to main category

Login now