Translated from Turkish by Translators for Justice
Release to the public and press.
As the Istanbul Branch of the Chamber of Chemical Engineers, we have been declaring the effects of the riot control agent known as “Tear gas” on the people’s health and safety for years. During the ongoing uprising process which started at Taksim Gezi Park at first and soon after turned into a wide protest against the government’s anti-labour and anti-freedom practices that caused people to say “enough is enough” and take to the streets, many other institutions have announced the effects of these control agents to the public as well. As well as their use with the purpose of controlling masses, these control agents have recently been used as squibs by the police forces and consequently many of our citizens have been injured. From now on, our people know the effects of these “riot control agents” on people’s health very well both theoretically and by their own experiences. However, some people who don’t have enough intelligence of the day’s events, and who can say that “tear gas is natural” still exist.Our citizens who demonstrate against the plunder and destruction of their cities and living spaces with the demands of democratic rights are being exposed to the police forces’ inhuman violence and to the effects of chemical weapons. To the Weaponry Draft Act which was sent to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) by the Prime Ministry on 16 April 2013, the Interior Ministry Commission of Weaponry Draft Law added “tear gas” to the list on 3 March 2013, and it has been placed in the fifth category by the definition of “within the scope of equipment and materials as produced to be used in attacks or defence causes shock, unconsciousness and indefensibility temporarily, induces tear and suchlike effects on persons when used”. Yet, health effects have still not been indicated in the act. For a better understanding of the issue, once more and plainly we want to bring the following information on the subject with the unaddressed details to the attention of the public, the press and those who may concern. How to determine the effects of toxic (poisonous) chemicals on health? There are several methods available for this. Albeit it has begun to be abandoned recently and that we do not approve the conduct of such experiments on animals the most prevalent method which has been applied for years is the use of guinea pigs such as mice and rabbits. A particular number of experimental animals are taken according to the qualifications of the tests and have been exposed to toxic chemicals through digestion, dermal contact and respiration in order to get specification of the chemicals can be prescribed out of the symptoms. Generally two values are expected as the results of these tests named as LD50 and LC50 values. Hereby we want to convey the meaning of these values briefly so it can be possible for us to be aware of the actual danger. LD50 (Lethal Dose): The dose (amount) needed to kill the half of the tested population. LC50 (Lethal Concentration): The concentration needed to kill the half of the tested population. These values for many riot control agents are determined in the literature.
Here we bring to the public attention and interpret these values for the “Oleoresin Capsicum” which is known as “Tear Gas” and has been widely used in our country.
The table above briefly indicates the following; • If you put 2500 milligram “Oleoresin Capsicum” in a 1 kilo mixture and spread it on mice’s skins 50 of 100 mice die. • If you let 100 mice breathe air which contains more than 10000 gram “Oleoresin Capsicum” for 4 hours 50 of them die. • If more than 248 milligram “Oleoresin Capsicum” accumulate in the intraperitoneal region of 100 mice through respiration, digestion, dermal contact etc. 50 of them die.
* Lethal concentration time for the 50 percent of the subjects
** Estimated LCt50*/ailment threshold for humans (minimum effective dose)
And this table briefly indicates the following;
• If you put 8500-22500 milligram CN in a 1 m3 mixture, 50 of the 100 subjects die within the first minute.
• Similarly if you put 25000-150000 milligram CS in a 1 m3 mixture, 50 of the 100 subjects die. We ask the authorities!
• As the result of your intervention with chemical weapons, do you know which and of how much of the riot control agent have contaminated to the tens of thousands of people’s skins?
• Do you know the level of the quantity of tear gas in the air we have been breathing not only for four hours but for hundreds of hours?
• Do you know whether the tear gas that have accumulated in our bodies have exceeded 248 milligrams or not? If you don’t possess sound knowledge on the issue, do you intend to learn it by testing on the people?
• OUR PEOPLE ARE NOT “EXPERIMENTAL SUBJECTS”.
• TEAR GAS KILLS.
1. In social events, the use of these kinds of chemicals which have the potential to cause death must be banned.
2. The Security Information Forms of the riot control agents featuring like identification cards for chemical substances must be declared to the public.
3. Which chemicals are put in the water sprayed on the bodies of our citizens from TOMA’s (riot control vehicles- water cannons) and panzers must be declared to the public.
4. What are the other chemicals used during the recent demonstrations in addition to the riot control agents (CS and OC) which we have been very well familiarized with?
5. The countries where the mass controlling/neutralizing chemicals have been imported from and the spending amounts by the police forces must be declared to the public.
“Dosis Sola Facit Venenum”
The statement above has been uttered hundreds of years ago by Paracelsus as one of the founding fathers of Chemistry. It can be translated as “The dose alone makes the poison.”
As it can be seen from what we have briefly explained above to restate the severity of the situation, chemicals may cause to death by depending on the kind and amount of being used against people. Riot control agents are not harmless as the authorities claim, they’re chemical weapons. We declare once again that, we have always been and will totally be supporting the jurists, scientists, politicians and the representatives of civil society who feel responsible themselves for the situation in accordance with the field knowledge that our profession has provided us.
We submit to the public respectfully.
TMMOB (CHAMBERS OF TURKISH ENGINEERS AND ARCHITECTS)
Chamber of Chemical Engineers- Istanbul Branch