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Tear Gas and Pepper Spray
(and Rubber Bullets)

This has been adapted from the anti-IMF / World Bank A16 Medical Team information with some updates and corrections.

Table of Contents:

Gas Mask Examples

These are the two most common gas masks: Israeli gas masks; and M17A1 clones.

The M17A1 clones are better as they are smaller and less easy to remove and fog up, but cost more and are harder to easily find. If you cannot afford a mask or cannot find one, don't fret. Two other options are using a bandana that has been soaked in vinegar or a chemical respirator that can be found at a hardware store. When wearing one of these you will also need a pair of tight fitting goggles as neither protects your eyes. Ski goggles are good. A pair of Speedo swim goggles or similar will work, but be sure goggles seal tightly around your eye sockets!

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What to do when you get gassed or pepper sprayed without a mask

The first and most important thing to remember is to relax! If you are well prepared mentally and have essential supplies and knowledge, you will probably not need our medical assistance. Fear & confusion are the State's major weapon. Confidence, determination, preparation and awareness of your strength is your best weapon.

Prevention: Wash before with castille soap. Cover up with water repellent clothes & gear. Use gas mask, respirators, or apple-cider vinegar or lemon juice soaked bandana over mouth/nose; sealed (ski/swim/workshop) goggles over eyes. Don't wear contact lenses, make-up, moisturizers or vegetable/mineral oil-based cream. Don't use Vaseline or mineral oil as skin barrier.

Brief General Treatment

Stay calm & focused. You are strong. The discomfort is only temporary & will not damage you.

Don't touch face or rub eyes. Get to fresh air, eyes open, arms out (if tear gas), breathe slow & deep. Blow nose, spit out chemicals. Consider water to flush eyes & gargle/spit out chemicals. Water soaked gauze or cotton balls on closed eyes are soothing. After treatment, wash off with cold water & replace contaminated clothes. Wipes may be clean cloth, gauze, 4x4s etc. . Water may have 4 drops per quart of Rescue Remedy added. Normal Saline (0.9% sodium solution) may be substituted for rinsing, cleaning water.

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The Big Picture

This First Aid information will describe simple and effective techniques to prevent and treat most of the effects from tear gas, pepper spray and some other possibilities.

Those methods used by the police against us are not so much weapons of pain, as they are tools of distraction. The fear of pepper spray and tear gas is a diversion intended to control us, to cloud our vision and obscure the weakness of the corporate State - devoid of joy or love, knowing only the language of threats and fear.

Fear thrives on uncertainty and lack of knowledge. There is a lot of information here. We urge that each Affinity Group or group of buddies to appoint a Medical Monitor who learns - or can effectively refer to this, and the other health documents on Supplies and Advice that we have issued. We want you to stay healthy and happy.

"What history really shows is that today's empire is tomorrow's ashes, that nothing lasts forever, and that to not resist is to acquiesce in your own oppression. The greatest form of sanity that anyone can exercise is to resist that force that is trying to repress, oppress, and fight down the human spirit."
-- Mumia Abu Jamal

Remember, they're more scared of us than we are of them. They understand clearly we have the power to change this rotten system, and we have already shown that we can face down our fears.

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Make sure you apply treatments within your ability and understanding level. Recognize your limits. Ask for or refer to someone more experienced when needed. Experienced health workers know that asking for help is often absolutely essential.

Tear Gas & Pepper Spray Treatment

General Treatment For Tear Gas (CS, CN, CX) and Pepper Spray (OC)




Tear Gas (CS, CN, CX) Treatment

Eye Flush with Water

Mineral Oil Followed Immediately By Alcohol - MOFIBA

(for Pepper Spray)
Works on pepper spray that is wet or dried on skin. This is dangerous if not done precisely as it can burn skin! Don't substitute the ingredients.


Mineral Oil, Rubbing Alcohol, Clean Gauze or Cloth wipes.

  1. Wipe Mineral Oil on exposed skin. Keep Out Of Eyes, and off lips. The mineral oil will trap the pepper chemicals, but doesn't neutralize it.
  2. Immediately wipe off all Mineral Oil with Alcohol. All Mineral Oil Must Be Removed Or else the pepper spray still in the mineral oil can burn the skin!
  3. May be repeated several times. (Consider using the Liquid Antacid Water treatment after first application of MOFIBA).

Liquid Antacid Water - LAW

This is a soothing solution against the pepper spray burn to eyes, mouth, mucus membranes and skin. Best used after initial pepper spray is removed with MOFIBA and eye flush.


Water; Liquid Antacid (Maalox, Mylanta or generic equivalent with main and active ingredients of 200 mg magnesium and 225 mg aluminum hydroxides per serving) Unflavored is recommended, but hard to find. We use mint flavor often.


Mix equal amount of Liquid Antacid and Water into a bottle with a drip or squirt top.


Caution: After applying to eyes, vision will be cloudy for up to several minutes depending on how well tear ducts are working. Patient may not be able to safely move quickly.

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General Treatment Of:


Contact Lenses



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Breathing Problems (Beyond Coughing) After Exposure to Tear Gas and Pepper Spray

Prevention of Tear Gas & Pepper Spray Effects

Protection via hygiene:

Protection via gear:

Afterwards, you will want to wash, (this time with nasty harsh non-organic detergent to dissolve the chemicals) trash, or cheerfully donate your contaminated clothes to the government.

Gas masks provide the best facial protection, if properly fitted and sealed. Make sure it is not an old one with asbestos filters. Shatter resistant lenses are best. The M17A1 model is recommended. Most eyeglass frames will not fit inside gas masks, but contoured frames or prescription swim goggles should. The disadvantages of gas masks are their expense, bulk, need to get a good one - there are bad ones available, and you might be a target to the police.

Alternatives to a gas mask: sealed (ski/swim/workshop) eye-goggles & respirator with filters designed for paint stripper or hazardous gases that cover nose & mouth. Commercially available defogger solutions will keep your goggles from steaming up and inhibiting your vision. Prescription swim goggles can be purchased for as little as 10-20$.

An apple-cider vinegar or lemon juice wet cloth over the nose and mouth helps, is cheap, (and will be available if your gas mask gets stolen by the police who may ban them). But since the vinegar itself is uncomfortable to breathe, we further recommend you wear paper surgical or shop respirators underneath, as long as you can still maintain a seal with the outer layer of vinegar-soaked fabric. Even water added to a bandana will provide better barriers than dry fabric. Keep several pre-soaked bandanas in zipper bags until they are needed. If you know chemicals are coming, put on protective gear, remove your contacts, and/or try to get away. Often clues are the police deploying their gas masks. Moving away from the source, or moving upwind is key.

How Tear Gas and Pepper Spray are Deployed

Tear Gas & Pepper Spray Effects

Pepper Spray Concerns

Tear Gas & Pepper Spray Concerns

Plastic/Rubber Bullets

If police are shooting plastic bullets, wear shatter resistant eye protection. Protect your throat with your hand, and if possible, turn away from direction of fire. While the plastic bullets fired from CO2 charges (as used in Seattle) should not penetrate skin, they do bruise, can blind and do shatter glass lenses from at least 20 metres / 60 feet away.

Plastic Bullet Concerns

Further "Delightful" Reading

The military's public paranoia about chemical weapons is focused on foreign terrorist threats. But who are they kidding - chemical weapon violence is almost always unleashed by State forces against its citizens. Still, they do publish some useful information. Lacking is information on long term health consequences.