The use of tear gas has evolved quite a bit since its inception. This agent is now ubiquitously used by law enforcement professionals in a variety of circumstances, from dispersal of crowds to armed stand-offs and hostage situations. This short post will examine the history of the chemical, and how it has been employed over the years. While those disapproving of the practice continue to grow in rank, the use of tear gas does not seem to be falling out of favor.
World War I Marked the Birth of Modern Tear Gas
Developed by French chemists in the early twentieth century, tear gas was first used in the Battle of Frontiers, a significant skirmish between French and German troops which took place during World War I. While there were regulations in place prohibiting the use of poisonous gas projectiles, tear gas sidestepped the issue because the substance was considered ‘less lethal’ than other types of agents.
From War to Your Front Door
The military actually had a hand in making tear gas acceptable for use on the domestic front. Amos Fries, then chief of the U.S. Army’s Chemical Warfare Service, was integral in this process. Along with many other war veterans, Fries lobbied for tear gas to be used in domestic situations, such as crowd control and the debilitation of dangerous criminals. His efforts helped establish a commercial market for the gas, which was quickly put to use by numerous law enforcement agencies.
A Problematic Solution to Civil Unrest
Despite its numerous proponents, tear gas remains a controversial subject for many. This is particularly true of its use during protests and similar events. In these cases, tear gas canisters are often fired into crowds indiscriminately, sometimes gravely harming innocent bystanders in the process. While proper use of tear gas is known to cause effects that are generally temporary, in certain situations where there is prolonged exposure to the gas, the agent can become lethal. As a result, use of tear gas is frequently criticized, especially when utilized in non-violent situations.
Tear gas is an incredibly toxic substance that can do an immense amount of damage to both your health and property, which is why tear gas removal is crucial when the agent is used within a home or other enclosed space. Repeated cleanings are sometimes necessary, which is why it is important to select a professional trauma cleaning company to handle the job right the first time. Aftermath Services has first-hand experience with tear gas cleanup and other types of biohazard situations. If your home or office has been affected, give our technicians a call. We are on hand to answer your questions and deliver quality cleanup services, 24/7, 365 days a year.