Call for a Moratorium on Chemical Weapons
Dear American Elected Officials,

We, the undersigned members of the scientific community, request that you leverage any and all avenues to halt current and future use of chemical weapons against civilians.

The use of chemical weapons (such as tear gas and munition smoke) constitutes an indiscriminate application of toxic materials to a non-consenting population and the environment with short and long-term consequences for both.

By their very nature, chemical weapons include compounds designed to interact with components of their environment, including humans. These fundamentally reactive compounds significantly impact human health and well-being in the short and long-term. However, their impacts are not limited to humans and can have significant ecological consequences. Additionally, disbursement of many of these compounds into the environment without remediation constitutes illegal disposal of hazardous wastes under the Environmental Protection Act.

First-hand accounts and collected munitions indicate that such weapons are often deployed without regard to explicitly labeled disbursement requirements, such as “use only outdoors”, “use from at least a minimal safe distance”, and “use only within 5 years of the manufacture date”. Using chemical weapons in such situations puts human lives in significant risk.

Presently, however, law enforcement is functionally allowed to use chemical weapons against civilians without consequence. Further, private industry is allowed to manufacture munitions for law enforcement using known aquatic toxins and probable human carcinogens, while providing incomplete documentation of components and risks. Given the obfuscation of components, indiscriminate nature, and reactivity of chemical weapons, victims of their impacts are not able to readily obtain information about what weapons were used and in what condition they were deployed. Instead, they are forced to first identify the chemicals used on them via forensics and then determine their consequences. Even if indications are strong that the chemicals are more noxious than law enforcement states, including carcinogenicity, agencies can continue to use the chemical weapons until they are proven toxic.

Leveraging of this “assumed safe” loophole as a tactical approach against protesters amounts to chemical experimentation on humans. Given that the recipient population (including bystanders) is not able to determine fundamentally how it is impacted by the munitions and individuals may not be able to leave areas made unsafe, the use of chemical weapons by any state against its people is an act of domestic terrorism.

As professionals who hold basic ethical standards for the use of human subjects in experimental trials and treatment of the environment, we insist that you do as well.

We specifically demand the following:

1. A complete moratorium on chemical weapons being used on humans in the United States.
2. Full dismantling and proper disposal of law enforcement chemical weapons caches.
3. The legal default being set such that a chemical is not to be used and evidence must be provided of its safety before base consideration (“assumed toxic”).
4. Potential chemical weapons must undergo the same review as chemicals involved in agricultural applications.
5. They must also undergo a further review to specifically address use against humans.

Swiftly enacting this platform will help save human lives, reduce negative impacts on the environment, and counter-act fascism.


Please fill out this form to add your name to the list of scientists calling for a halt on the use of chemical weapons.

We define "scientist" broadly as anyone engaged in scientific exploration.

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