A study by researchers in Minnesota found that about 83% of people reported reproductive health problems, such as cramps or early periods after being exposed to tear gas or other chemical irritants.
Due to study limitations, the researchers were unable to determine cause and effect, but the results are a first step, and law enforcement leaders are considering using these for crowd control. He said he needed to suspend using stimulants.
“This study is just the beginning of raising questions about the health effects associated with tear gas exposure,” said the Center for Anti-Racism Research for Health Equity at the Family Planning System North Midlands and the University of Minnesota. researcher Asha Hassan said.
Family planning was launched in 2015 because of anecdotal reports that exposure to tear gas, which was used to disperse rioters and protesters after police killed George Floyd in Minneapolis, disrupted menstrual cycles. supported the research. The study design was also approved by the university’s institutional review board.
Survey results revealed Monday showed more than two-thirds of respondents reported cramps after being exposed to tear gas in 2020 or 2021, and more than half reported early menstrual bleeding. was done. Breast tenderness and delayed menstrual bleeding were also common concerns.
“Early or late periods have a significant impact on a person’s life, and often make them feel out of control,” said the chief medical officer of the local family planning agency branch. says Dr. Sarah Traxler. She is also a co-author of a study published in the medical journal Frontiers in Epidemiology.
Such disruptions can be particularly problematic for women who are planning to have children, who are struggling with infertility, and who are transgender or non-binary, he added.
The researchers used social media ads and family planning email groups to recruit participants and included more than 1,200 responses in the survey. Participants were able to self-report their gender, but having a uterus had to be included.
More than 90% of the participants were taking hormonal drugs for contraception or other purposes, which was one limitation. The researchers were unable to determine whether exposure to tear gas would cause health problems in the absence of these drugs.
Reproductive health problems after tear gas exposure were also more likely to occur in those respondents who said stress or trauma had disrupted their menstrual cycle. Therefore, the stress of protests and clashes with police may have affected them as much as chemical irritants.
However, the researchers found a relationship between tear gas exposure and reproductive health problems, even taking into account this menstrual stress response. They also found that multiple exposures to tear gas increased the likelihood of health effects.
The results are consistent with a similar study that focused on the health effects of tear gas used by law enforcement during protests in Portland, Oregon in 2020, suggesting that tear gas exposure A study showed that menstrual disturbances were the most common late-onset health problems reported after breathing and stomach problems.