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What Is Tear Gas

Tear gas is a non-lethal form of riot control dispersed in a gaseous form.  Canisters of different mixtures, including CS, CR, and CN gasses, as well as pepper spray, Mace, and various other gasses, are used by police and military forces to help disperse dangerous crowds participating in riots.

Also known as lachrymatory agent, tear gasses often have the following effects:

  • Burning Eyes
  • Tearing
  • Eye Pain
  • Increased Salivation
  • Uncontrollable Coughing Or Sneezing
  • Chest, Throat, & Sinus Pain
  • Minor Chemical Burns

Though most of these symptoms are temporary, more severe and permanent effects, such as blindness and even death, have also been recorded, though in small numbers.

The use of tear gas in many forms has been prohibited for use as a chemical warfare agent has been banned by several international treaties.

How To Get Rid Of Tear Glass

The first and most important step in cleaning up tear gas is protecting yourself.  It is generally recommended that a full-face respirator or gas mask is used – along with a hazardous material (HAZMAT) suit due to severe skin irritation that can occur with tear gas residue.

It is important to note that even after a good deal of time has passed, the process of cleaning tear gas residue can stir chemicals back into the air.  Once you are adequately protected, proceed to the following steps:

  • Use a vacuum to remove as much of the powder residue as possible.  Ordinary vacuum cleaners may allow the dust to redistribute into the air, so it is important to use ULPA or HEPA vacuum.  It is also important to avoid attachments such as brushes, as they can also stir up the fine powders.
  • Flushing the area with a large amount of water will help to neutralize tear gas – however, with certain tear gasses, such as CR gas, water can actually add to the effect of tear gas.  Speak with the law enforcement center(s) that issued the gas to get advice on whether or not water should be used.
  • Clean hard surfaces with a surfactant hard surface cleaner or a water-based alkaline solution.  Use of mops and rags are fine (keep in mind that you must dispose of any cleaning implements after use), but brushes, brooms, and scrubbers can stir the dust back into the air.
  • Sodium bisulfate and sodium meta-bisulfate added to the alkaline solution can aid in the removal of tear gas residue.  However, it has a very strong and unpleasant odor – and carries the potential to bleach or lighten the color of many surfaces.
  • Carpets and upholstered furniture can be difficult to clean, and are often disposed of.  However, a citrus based or volatile dry solvent can aid in lifting residues from the fibers.
  • Any item that can be removed from the scene and cleaned with an alkaline solution in an outdoor environment should be.  If items can be immersed completely and soaked in the solution, it would be much better.
  • It is important to keep the area well ventilated before, during, and for a time after the cleaning process.  If severe odors persist for more than a two days, applying direct-spray deodorizers can help to lessen and eliminate them.

Remember that you should read the labels of your cleaning chemicals carefully for important health and safety information.  You may also be able to get further advice and safety information from your local law enforcement offices.

Also, keep in mind that many areas consider tear gas dust to be a biohazardous compound, and may require special considerations for safe, legal disposal.  Speak to a local Environmental Protection Agency office or law enforcement personnel to get important information on tear gas disposal.

Tear Gas Removal Services In Phoenix, Arizona

Keep in mind that tear gas is nothing less than a chemical weapon, and if at all possible should be cleaned by a professional specialty cleaning service to ensure the best quality of cleaning and sanitation.  BioTeamAZ serves Phoenix area businesses, home owners, and individuals for professional biohazard sanitation – including tear gas removal.

Don’t take a chance on your safety – call BioTeamAZ today to take care of the hazards of tear gas residue.

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