Who should avoid

For most healthy people, the effects of tear gas and pepper spray are temporary. However, for some people the effects can be long-lasting and life-threatening. People with the conditions listed below should be aware of these risks and may want to try and avoid exposure. Please be aware that in intense actions, police behavior can be unpredictable, and avoidance is not always possible.

  • Folks with respiratory diseases, such as asthma, emphysema, etc. risk exacerbation, permanent damage if exposed.
  • Vulnerable people such as infants, the elderly, and the immune compromised, risk intensified and possibly life-threatening responses.
  • Anyone with chronic health conditions or those on medications that weaken the immune system, (ie: chemotherapy, Lupus, HIV, radiation, or long-term corticosteroids such as prednisone) risk exacerbation of illness, intensified response and possible delayed recovery.
  • Women who are or could be pregnant, or who are trying to get pregnant may be at risk of spontaneous abortion or increased risk of birth defects.
  • Nursing mothers risk passing toxins on to their infant.
  • Folks with skin (ie: severe acne, psoriasis, or eczema) and eye (ie: conjunctivitis or uveitis) conditions risk an intensified response.
  • People wearing contact lenses may experience increased eye irritation and damage due to chemicals being trapped under the lenses.
  • Be aware of positional asphyxia - almost all pepper spray related deaths occur when the victim has been hogtied and placed face-down.

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