BLM Tear Gasoline Probably Linked To Modifications In Menstruation &. Miscarriage
On May 25th of that year, George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis. As civilians witnessed the scene, many began filming what was happening in front of them, and some even asked police officer Derek Chauvin to stop. The video, which quickly went viral worldwide, showed Chauvin pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck and head. Officer Chauvin held it there for 7 minutes and 46 seconds, despite Floyd repeatedly saying he couldn’t breathe. Floyd died on the scene by a police officer, causing outrage and restarting the BLM movement.
Since then, protesters in the US and around the world have marched, attended vigils, held sit-in strikes, and demanded justice for the countless black victims of police brutality and reform. While most of the protests are peaceful, non-violent, and some even socially distant, there have been many in which the police gassed tears and sprayed pepper.
Most of the time it is not provoked. Many protesters and bystanders filmed these scenes and posted them online to further prove their unjustified police brutality. Many of them went viral, including a clip of police vehicles driving against peaceful protesters and a New York protester holding his arms up in front of the police only to be sprayed with pepper spray.
Aside from the emotional strain, the physical effects of pepper spray or tear gas are not meant to be long-lasting. Effects include: stinging of the eyes, difficulty breathing, and loss of vision. However, there have been several reports of women who developed abnormalities in their menstrual cycles after exposure to these chemicals in recent protests.
BLM protesters are repeatedly gassed in tears
The New York Times reports that, according to the Civis Analytics database, around 15 to 26 million people in the United States have attended the Black Lives Matter demonstrations (making them the largest movement in the country’s history). As in many large cities, Denver, CO had some of the largest and most frequent crowds. Activist, mother, and property manager Janette Akins was there for pretty much everyone.
Akins found like-minded people around town through a group chat that updated and discussed the movement and helped her keep track of when and where the next protest would take place. She attended as many events as possible for 38 days, and pretty quickly Akins noticed irregularities in her menstrual cycle after several periods.
“I have had an IUD for two years. I don’t get a menstrual period, ”she says. After exposure to pepper spray, tear gas, and rubber bullets, she had cramps and bleeding heavily the next day. The first time she was sprayed with pepper was while she was sitting in a park after curfew. “Unfortunately, I’ve been attacked so often that I’m learning to tell the difference between gas, pepper balls and spray.”
Akins points out that she wondered why this was happening and knew something was wrong as she was paying attention to her body and well-being. “I connected the dots,” she says. “After coming into contact with pepper spray, I bled.”
Finding links between tear gas and menstrual problems
Your experience is not an isolated incident either. Akin’s 15-year-old daughter, who was also present, had the same experience with cramps and bleeding. In another group chat for protesters in Denver, someone asked if anyone else had noticed a pattern between bleeding and tear gas.
Around 15 others, many of whom are using different types of birth control, from IUDs to the pill and more, report almost identical symptoms. In addition, social media has made it possible for people from different locations, time zones, and protests to compare notes on this as well. Twitter user @ ChaStewart22 started a thread with similar stories after posting, “I’m a mess … I just started my period AGAIN. This is the third time since repeated [being] strong exposure[d] to tear gas in the uprisings. “
I’m a mess … I just started my period AGAIN. This is the third time since repeated high levels of tear gas exposure in the rioting. Others say they also have multiple periods regardless of IUDs or T use. @ColumbusGov tell people what happens to our bodies.
– Abolition4Life #Blacktranslivesmatter (@ ChaStewart22) June 14, 2020
Not the first time tear gas has compromised women’s reproductive health
The Geneva Protocol banned all types of “asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases” that were to be used in war in 1925. However, police actively use tear gas and pepper spray on civilians during BLM demonstrations. There is no significant research into the long-term effects of tear gas, as well as its effects on women’s reproductive health. While there is a link, there isn’t enough concrete evidence to show that there is a direct link between this and period problems.
During the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, a professor in the Medical School of the University of Chile in the 1980s, Andrei Tchernitchin began testing students who had been gassed in tears.
“We asked the students to donate blood to examine some hormonal parameters such as the number of eosinophils. Strangely enough, these leukocytes were broken down at great speed, which could mean changes of various kinds,” he tells the magazine Punto y Final. He concludes that there was “a likelihood that chemicals from tear gas can impair reproductive functions” and cause irreversible damage to unborn fetuses and young children.
Research and Security Precautions
Despite the lack of evidence and studies, some health care professionals do not fully deny that there are not enough reasons not to encourage more testing because people have period problems. Dr. Giuseppe Aragona, General Practitioner and Family Practitioner at Prescription Doctor, warns that while there is insufficient evidence, people should be wary of potentially violent BLM demonstrations (as it is a strong chemical).
Research is limited, but it has shown that tear gas can cause miscarriages and changes in menstruation. Tear gas was created to affect the nerves around the eyes, mouth, and throat, but it could affect other areas as it is breathed into your body. I would suggest that you stay away from tear gas situations if you are concerned about these changes or are pregnant so that you don’t have to find out if there are any consequences.
While there isn’t enough concrete evidence that tear gas and other chemical weapons harm women’s reproductive health, there is a slowly growing discussion that should be addressed. Also, the number of women and people who have spoken about irregularities in their menstrual flow after protests is alarming and needs to be investigated at a higher level. That being said, scientific studies and further research should be done to show how damaging tears gas is to mental and physical health.