Cleaning up the residue left behind by tear gas isn’t easy. Tear gas affects almost every area of the space it was used in, including heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC). If the tear gas is left to settle, it leaves behind a residue that is difficult and dangerous to remove without the proper equipment and training.
Tear gas is a non-lethal weapon only available to law enforcement officials, although similar alternatives like pepper spray and bear spray are available for anyone to buy. Tear gas is often used to control riots and dangerous situations where lethal force isn’t necessary.
There are a couple of different types of tear gas. They are all made up of chemical compounds formulated to make targeted individuals temporarily disabled, allowing law enforcement to take control of a situation. Tear gas causes severe eye, nose, lungs, and mouth irritation.
The effects of tear gas are, for the most part, temporary. The effects include things such as skin inflammation, contact dermatitis, breathing difficulty, and impaired eyesight. It can, however, cause severe eye injuries including blindness. It is very rare for tear gas to cause death. Individuals with asthma are particularly vulnerable to the effects of tear gas.
Residual Tear Gas Powder
It is crucial that tear gas residue is removed promptly and properly. One logical option to get this done is with the help and expertise of a professional cleanup and restoration service. This will ensure a successful tear gas cleanup that restores the affected space to a clean and uncontaminated state.
The powder left over from tear gas can easily be absorbed by permeable materials like clothes, furniture fabric, and carpet. Although you might be able to save your affected clothes by washing them, it might be more reasonable to discard them along with other permeated materials to prevent future irritations.
If tear gas was deployed in your home or in another confined space, you will need to fully decontaminate the affected area to eliminate residual health hazards. The leftover tear gas powder can continue to cause eye, nose, and lung irritations if it is not removed. The residue from tear gas does not go away on its own.
Removing Tear Gas Residue
While there are a couple of different home remedies here and there on how to treat your body after tear gas exposure, information on how to treat the affected room is much scarcer. Although tear gas cleanup is best left to a professional cleanup company, here are a couple of bits of information to keep in mind when you’re thinking about the overall cleanup process.
- The exact type of tear gas used is an essential piece of information. Tear gas comes in a variety of formulas and knowing the specific one that was used will help you determine the safest way to clean up the residue.
- The tear gas powder will need to be removed through a specialized vacuum-and-spray process. Professionals will use HEPA-filtered vacuums to remove the visible residue and then use a spray to clean up any remaining residue. The spray is formulated for the specific type of tear gas used.
- The vacuum-and-spray process is repeated until all residue is removed.
- The HVAC system will need to be decontaminated if the tear gas was used indoors.
Keep in mind that during the decontamination process, all rooms that were affected by the tear gas will need to be sealed with plastic. This prevents contamination from spreading from room to room. Regular occupants of the affected spaces will be displaced until the decontamination process is complete.
To ensure your own safety, you should not attempt to clean tear gas residue on your own. Professional cleanup services have the proper tools and training to take care of the job for you. Since the tear gas cleanup process is very involved, it’s best to get the job done by professionals.