March 1972

Toxic Effects of Tear Gas on an Infant Following Prolonged Exposure

Author Affiliations

La Jolla, Calif; La Jolla and San Francisco
From the Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla (Drs. Park and Giammona), and Children's Hospital, San Francisco (Dr. Giammona).

Am J Dis Child. 1972;123(3):245-246. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1972.02110090115018

A 4-month-old male infant developed pneumonitis following a prolonged exposure to tear gas (CS or orthochlorobenzylidene malononitrile). The patient had a persistent leukocytosis (white blood cell count 20,000 to 30,000/cu mm) with predominance of lymphocytes on peripheral blood smear and had a slow resolution of the pneumonitis radiologically. A discussion of the toxicity of the two most widely used tear gases—chloroacetophenone (CN) and CS—on the respiratory system indicates that both agents are capable of inducing severe clinical toxicity dependent upon the concentration of the gas.