Experts Condemn the Tear-Gassing of Children

Photo Source Daniel Arauz | CC BY 2.0

On Sunday, US border officers fired tear gas at groups of asylum seekers attempting to reach the US border. Images of mothers and small children fleeing the gas drew widespread outrage from politicians and human rights groups.

Wind carried the gas a kilometer away, impacting many individuals not attempting to reach the US border.

As a result of the tear gas, one woman collapsed unconscious, a baby fainted, with many others were screaming and coughing, and a child with Down syndrome was among those affected by the gas.

“I felt that my face was burning,” said Cindy Milla, a Honduran woman. “I ran for my life and that of my children.”

But on Tuesday, President Trump defended the use of tear gas, claiming the tear gas used was “very safe”.

Experts contacted by the author strongly disputed Trump’s assurances and called the tear-gassing of children illegal and potentially deadly.

“Tear gas should never, in my opinion, be used on children,” said Dr. Alastair Hay, Professor of Environmental Toxicology at the University of Leeds. “The stinging of the eyes and coughing fits that the tear gases cause will terrify any child.”

If a child with asthma comes into contact with tear gas, it could provoke a dangerous asthma attack in a vulnerable population that may not have access to medicine.

Dr. Rohini Haar, Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley School of Public Health, agreed that exposing children to tear gas was…

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