Pharmacists and Chemists Explain Side Effects of Using Tear Gas on the Human Body

Malang Kanjuruhan Stadium is a silent witness to the bloodiest tragedy in Indonesia’s football world. Various assumptions emerged as the cause of the incident. To find out the facts that occur through various scientific fields. Academics gathered for the Review Forum Group Discussion on the Kanjuruhan Malang Tragedy at the Faculty of Law, Airlangga University, on Wednesday, December 7, 2022. The activity was organized by the Airlangga Center for Legal Drafting and Professional Development, Faculty of Law, Airlangga University (ALC FH UNAIR) in collaboration with the Study Center of Anti Corruption and Criminal Policy (CACCP FH UNAIR) and the Criminal Law Section of the Faculty of Law, Universitas Airlangga (FH UNAIR). One of the areas discussed was the pharmaceutical and chemical aspects regarding tear gas.


Present as a guest speaker was Prof. Dwi Setyawan, S.Si., M.Sc., Apt. as a professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy, Airlangga University. According to him, tear gas is made of excellent solid particles. It is used by throwing it and spraying it as an aerosol to resemble a gas. Generally, the ingredients used vary, such as Chloracetophenone (CN) and Chlorobenzylidenemalononitrile (CS). The use of tear gas itself is usually used to dispel riots by causing side effects in the form of irritation and discomfort. People exposed to tear gas typically cause irritation in the eyes, nose, mouth, and skin. Treatment is also quite simple by giving water or free air. This is because the compounds in the tear gas do not enter the body, only on the surface, and are soluble in water.


He then also explained that the use of tear gas was carried out in areas with free air. The permission to use it is also carried out on a limited basis for security purposes. Industries that produce it in Indonesia are also limited to PT. Pindad. The side effects caused are also temporary to irritate. Because of this, tear gas will rarely cause death unless used excessively in a closed room with no ventilation. “Tear gas causing death is something that rarely happens; generally only causes irritation and discomfort,” he explained.


This statement is also affirmed by Prof. Dr. Fahimah Martak, M.Sc. as professor of chemistry at the Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology, who was also present as a commentator. According to him, chemical compounds are all around us. However, please note that there are chemicals whose use is prohibited as chemical weapons based on statutory provisions. The use of chemicals for tear gas itself is still permitted in the context of security. Tear gas particles are similar to fine pepper, with side effects such as sore and irritated eyes. However, the condition of a person’s body will also affect the reactions of different chemicals.

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