This standard establishes minimum performance requirements and methods of test, including safety and handling aspects, for hand -held aerosol tear gas (less -than -lethal) weapons used by law enforcement agencies. These devices are used by law enforcement officers to incapacitate or distract one person or several whose behavior must be modified when the situation is not sufficiently dangerous to require the use of a firearm. The scope of this standard is limited to hand-held tear gas weapons that incorporate ortho-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile (CS) or alpha-chloroacetophenone (CN) as the active agent (lacrimator), sprayed from an aerosol dispenser.
Tear Gas (o-Chlorobenzylidenemalonitrile; CAS No. 2698-41-1) is a white crystalline powder with a pepper-like odor. It was first synthesized by Corson and Stoughton in 1928 (thus the abbreviation “CS”). It was developed in the 1950s as a replacement for the chemical incapacitant CN (1-chloroacetophenone) used by police because CS was a much more potent irritant than CN, but was significantly less toxic.
The number of people exposed to CS spray presenting to accident and emergency departments is on the increase. Its effects, though usually minor and short lived, involve several systems and can occasionally be life threatening. It is therefore important that staff are able to manage these patients and know when and how to protect themselves and others from further contamination.