Tear Gas Is Now a Fact of Life in Hong Kong. Residents Are Wondering What It’s Doing to Their Health

December 6, 2019

(TIME) РKnown also as CS gas, tear gas is not actually a gas, but fine powder used as a riot control agent. It becomes active when heated. Exposure causes streaming eyes, runny nose, shortness of breath, burning skin and sometimes vomiting and headaches. Lately, Hong Kong has been abuzz with concerns about the long term effects of tear gas exposure and any potential harm to the built environment caused by repeated tear gas contamination. Fears have been exacerbated by the police force’s switch to mainland Chinese-made tear gas. Experts say it contains aluminum and magnesium, causing it to burn at higher temperatures than the U.S.- and U.K.-made tear gas used previously.