Tear gas cleanup

What we call Tear Gas is actually not gas at all but a fine powder or oil-based vapors. Cleaning the residue might be more complicated than what you thought.

There are about 15 products on the market that can go under the tear gas category. Even though the chemical compounds used in these products are different they all produce tearing, sneezing, coughing and temporary blindness. The most common tear gas used in the U.S. goes under the acronym CS, CR and CN. The substance that is used determines the way we perform the cleanup.

Types of Tear Gas

Tear gas contains a chemical compound that irritates the mucous membranes. The types of tear gas are: 

CS – At room temperature this gas is not actually gas, but a fine powder aerosolized to produce a cloud in the air that is inhaled by the targets. The residue sinks into all objects around the incident such as clothing, backpacks, furniture, upholstery and curtains.

CN – Is known as Mace works very effectively at close range. The CN is dispersed with an oily substance, which causes it to stick to skin and other surfaces.

CR – Is a pale-yellow solid in the form of fine powder that is suspended in liquid and dispersed into the air. CR can stay active on surfaces for up to 2 months and must be properly cleaned.

            Knowing which one was used can help with the cleanup.

Tear Gas Clean Up

After an indoor space was contaminated with tear gas, a remediation is necessary to reverse or stop further health or environmental damage.

All Bio Pro Boston staff wear protective gear when entering a space that was affected by tear gas. That includes a full-face respirator and biohazard suit.

We remove the tear gas residue by vacuuming the area thoroughly with an industrial grade vacuum. Home vacuums will simply not work because the fine dust will escape the filters and be redistributed again into the air, causing more tearing and coughing.

Washing everything with large amounts of water, especially when CS is involved can make the effect even worse.

Remove carpets, upholstery and cloth-based furniture. Hard surfaces are cleaned and disinfected.

Everything that can be moved outside should take out and cleaned, watching for downdraft.