Investigation of accidental secondary exposure to CS agent

Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2007 May;45(4):409-11. doi: 10.1080/15563650701285438.


We report on an unusual exposure to o-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile (CS agent) following its use to detect unauthorized stowaways aboard a vehicle, and the subsequent handling of the cargo delivered to retail stores across Scotland. Twenty-one staff in 16 retail stores across Scotland experienced symptoms including itching and running eyes, rhinorhoea, a burning sensation on the face and hands, and a burning throat, following the furniture deliveries. A survey was conducted to assess the extent of exposure to the contaminated furniture and the scale of illness associated with exposure. Experiencing symptoms was significantly associated with having contact with the furniture or packaging (chi(2) = 10.5, p < 0.001). This incident demonstrates the risk of inadvertent secondary exposure and subsequent acute symptoms from contact with residual CS agent when sprayed in the confined spaces of haulage vehicles.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Clothing
  • Female
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Humans
  • Interior Design and Furnishings
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis
  • Scotland
  • Tear Gases / analysis
  • Tear Gases / poisoning*
  • o-Chlorobenzylidenemalonitrile / analysis
  • o-Chlorobenzylidenemalonitrile / poisoning*


  • Tear Gases
  • o-Chlorobenzylidenemalonitrile