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Democrats Open Inquiry Into Health Effects of Tear Gas Used By Police

  • June 10, 2021

A year after racial justice protests around the country touched off violent clashes between activists and law enforcement, House Democrats on Thursday opened an investigation into the health effects of the use of tear gas by police.

Two subcommittees of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform began the investigation by asking companies that manufacture and sell tear gas and some government agencies to produce a wide range of documents, seeking to determine whether the federal government has done enough to ensure that the substance is safe to use on humans.

“The United States has agreed not to use tear gas in war,” four Democrats, including the chairmen of the subcommittees, wrote in a letter to the agencies and companies. “However, tear gas is frequently used in this country by law enforcement as a ‘riot control agent.’”

“Given this domestic use, we would have expected an analysis demonstrating that tear gas products are safe to use on humans, but we have not seen this,” they wrote. “In fact, evidence suggests that tear gas may be connected to long-term adverse health impacts for those exposed.”

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