Tear Gas Decontamination and Aftercare #Ferguson

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If you’re helping others, wear gloves – the chemicals will quickly contaminate other people and materials!


  1. Remove contaminated clothing and wipe off any remaining chemicals with gauze/rags.

  2. Spray vegetable or mineral oil on any skin exposed to the gas (NOT THE FACE) and wipe off with new gauze/rags.

  3. Wipe skin down again with new gauze/rags and rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol.


  • Shower with cold water and scrub your skin with soap. Hot water opens pores, which may let chemicals penetrate more deeply.

  • Don’t take a bath – you don’t want to soak in the chemicals!

  • Position yourself so that contaminated water from your hair does not run all over your skin – especially your face!

For your clothes:

  • Place contaminated clothes in a sealed plastic bag until you can wash them or dispose of them.

  • Clothes contaminated with tear gas can be hung out in the wind. It may take several days before the smell is gone.

  • Wash clothes with a strong detergent-based soap (this is not a time for eco-friendly, detergent-free products).

  • Coats, furniture, rugs and other items can be exposed to air or steam cleaned; some recommend adding 5-10% baking soda to the steam water.

The effects of tear gas and pepper spray are usually temporary.

Seek medical attention if you experience any of the following:

  • Severe or ongoing breathing problems

  • Ongoing eye irritation

  • Skin rash

  • Symptoms that persist, worsen, or reappear.

Many people feel fatigued or ill after chemical exposure. This is a good time to take extra good care of yourself. Drink a lot of water, eat nutritious food, and get enough sleep. Many different herbs can help detoxify the body-ask an herbalist for recommendations.

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