A flier and web-page making its way around Facebook and other social media recommends a solution of Maalox or other liquid antacids as an antidote to the eye pain, blindness, and respiratory distress related to tear gas attacks. The flier, which we found via “OccupyMARINES” states that it is distributed by “United We Rise”, an organization that supports, but is not directly affiliated with “Occupy Wall Street”.
Tear gas is not actually a gas, but a rapidly dispersing chemical agent called capsaicin that produces intense irritation in mucus membranes in the eyes, nose, mouth, throat, and lungs. Protesters in Greece found that mixing a 50 percent solution of liquid antacid and water in spray bottles produces a soothing mist that cools the burning associated with tear gas and pepper spray.
Protesters are instructed by the flier, “When exposed spray your eyes and mouth, then swallow.” The document cites AFP journalists, a study by the University of California at San Francisco, and Wikipedia as sources for information on antacids and tear gas relief.
The flier recommends particle filters and dust masks for keeping tear gas out of the nose and mouth and safety goggles to protect the eyes. It also urges nonviolent protest, saying, “Peaceful protest is the only way to be taken seriously and to be truly heard.”
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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