Study alleges tear gas used on protesters in Cairo potentially ‘lethal’

The “We Are All Khaled Saeed” Facebook page has published a detailed research paper on the tear gas used by security forces against protesters in Tahrir Square and at the Interior Ministry on 28 and 29 of June. The paper was prepared by a political activist named Ahmed Kamal.

It said the tear gas used has a shelf life of five years, but protesters have published pictures of empty tear gas canisters with production dates as old as 1987 and 2003. The use of expired tear gas increases its percentage of poisonous gas and leads to cancer, heart disease, and liver and respiratory problems, the paper said.
The pictures of empty canisters show a warning from the American manufacturing company, saying the use of the gas on people can cause severe injury or death. Activists also published photos of what they claimed to be the headquarters of the Pennsylvania-based company which manufactures CS SMOK tear gas – used in Cairo this week – displaying an Israeli flag.
The “We Are All Khaled Saeed” Facebook page, which played a major role in fueling the 25 January revolution and has more than 1.25 million members, claimed the tear gas canisters contain CS gas manufactured in Britain in 1950. Even in small doses it irritates the skin, eyes and mucous membranes. It can cause conjunctivitis and convulsions and disrupt women's menstrual cycles, and its effect increases with heat and humidity.
According to the paper, the American Medical Association has said the gas may be metabolized in peripheral tissues to form cyanide, which is a carcinogen.
CS gas also causes skin problems, and even in limited quantities it raises blood pressure, particularly in people above 30 and those who have aneurysms or suffer from physical strain.
The study also said CS gas leads to genetic mutations and chromosome anomalies. In the long term, it may lead to tumors and problems in the lungs and reproductive organs.
The inhalation of fresh air and sufficient oxygen and the rinsing of eyes and skin with large amounts of clean water may protect against the harmful effects of the gas, the study said. It also said that the canister is sold at US$25.
Al-Masry Al-Youm was unable to reach an independent medical source to verify the information contained in the research.
Translated from the Arabic Edition

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