Original contribution| Volume 29, ISSUE 1, P5-8, July 2005

Prevention of CS “tear gas” eye and skin effects and active decontamination with Diphoterine: Preliminary studies in 5 French Gendarmes


      Ortho-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile (CS) “tear gas” is a lacrimating riot control agent causing eye irritation, excessive lacrimation, and blepharospasm. Diphoterine® has been efficacious for decontamination of a wide variety of eye and skin chemical splashes and was tested in CS exposure. Five French Gendarmes either entered a standard training CS exposure chamber, developed eye or skin signs and symptoms, and were post-exposure decontaminated with Diphoterine or used Diphoterine as pre-CS exposure prophylaxis in the eyes and on the face before entering the chamber. Gendarmes who entered the CS chamber without prior application of Diphoterine developed expected effects of excessive lacrimation, eye irritation, and blepharospasm. After post-exposure Diphoterine decontamination, in four Gendarmes these effects rapidly resolved and they were fully operational. When Diphoterine was applied to the eyes and face before entering the CS chamber, the expected effects did not occur and the single Gendarme remained fully operational on exiting the chamber. These results suggest that Diphoterine can prevent or rapidly ameliorate the ocular and dermal effects of CS and allow law enforcement personnel to remain fully operational or rapidly regain operational status after decontamination.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Journal of Emergency Medicine
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Hall A.H.
        • Blomet J.
        • Mathieu L.
        Diphoterine for emergent eye/skin chemical splash decontamination.
        Vet Hum Toxicol. 2002; 44: 228-231
        • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
        NIOSH pocket guide to chemical hazards. US Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC1997
        • Schindel H.J.
        Assessment of health effects of CS gas [German].
        Gesundheitswesen. 1993; 55: 372-375
        • Petersen K.K.
        • Schroder H.M.
        • Eiskjaer S.P.
        CS tear gas spray as an injurious agent. Clinical aspects [Danish].
        Ugeskr Laeger. 1989; 51: 1338-1339
        • Hu H.
        • Fine J.
        • Epstein P.
        • et al.
        Tear gas—harassing agent or toxic chemical weapon?.
        JAMA. 1989; 262: 660-663
        • Schmutz J.L.
        • Rigon J.L.
        • Mougeolle J.M.
        • et al.
        Cutaneous accidents caused by self-defense sprays [French].
        Ann Dermatol Venereol. 1987; 114: 1211-1216
        • Hill A.R.
        • Silverberg N.B.
        • Mayorga D.
        • et al.
        Medical hazards of the tear gas CS. A case of persistent, multisystem, hypersensitivity reaction and review of the literature.
        Medicine (Baltimore). 2000; 79: 234-240
        • Bayeux-Dunglass M.C.
        • Deparis P.
        • Touati M.A.
        • et al.
        Occupational asthma in a teacher after repeated exposure to tear gas [French].
        Rev Mal Respir. 1999; 16: 558-559
        • Anderson P.J.
        • Lau G.S.
        • Taylor W.T.
        • et al.
        Acute effects of the potent lacrimator o-chlorobenzylidene malononiotrile (CS) tear gas.
        Hum Exp Toxicol. 1996; 15: 461-465
        • Varma S.
        • Holt P.J.
        Severe cutaneous reaction to CS gas.
        Clin Exp Dermatol. 2001; 26: 248-250
        • Zekri A.M.
        • King W.W.
        • Yeung R.
        • et al.
        Acute mass burns caused by o-chlorobenzylidene malonoitrile (CS) tear gas.
        Burns. 1995; 21: 586-589
        • Hu H.
        • Christiani D.
        Reactive airways dysfunction after exposure to teargas.
        Lancet. 1992; 399: 535
        • Ro Y.S.
        • Lee C.W.
        Tear gas dermatitis. Allergic contact sensitization due to CS.
        Int J Dermatol. 1991; 30: 576-577
        • Fuchs T.
        • in der Wiesche M.
        Contact allergies to CN and CS (“tear gas”) in participants in demonstrations [German].
        Z Hautkr. 1990; 65 (295): 228-292
        • Fuchs T.
        • Ippen H.
        Contact allergy to CN and CS tear gas [German].
        Derm Beruf Umwelt. 1986; 34: 12-14
        • Krapf R.
        • Thalman H.
        Acute exposure to CS tear gas and clinical studies [German].
        Schweiz Med Wochenschr. 1981; 111: 2056-2060