Chemical agents used in riot control and warfare

Hum Toxicol. 1983 Apr;2(2):247-56. doi: 10.1177/096032718300200213.


The development of riot control agents is reviewed with emphasis on the major factors influencing the selection and deployment of those agents in current use. Typical agents, irrespective of their chemical nature, cause unpleasant symptoms involving the eyes, skin, mouth, nose and respiratory tract. Ideally, these symptoms cause the sufferer to seek escape from exposure and resolve within 15-30 minutes after exposure has ceased. The medical management of casualties is discussed, with particular consideration of the problems likely to be referred to a Poison Control Centre.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols
  • Animals
  • Chemical Warfare Agents* / history
  • Chemical Warfare Agents* / poisoning
  • Chemistry
  • Dibenzoxazepines / poisoning
  • Guinea Pigs
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, Medieval
  • Humans
  • Irritants / toxicity
  • Mice
  • Rabbits
  • Riot Control Agents, Chemical* / history
  • Riot Control Agents, Chemical* / poisoning
  • Species Specificity
  • Tear Gases / poisoning
  • o-Chlorobenzylidenemalonitrile / poisoning
  • omega-Chloroacetophenone / poisoning


  • Aerosols
  • Chemical Warfare Agents
  • Dibenzoxazepines
  • Irritants
  • Riot Control Agents, Chemical
  • Tear Gases
  • o-Chlorobenzylidenemalonitrile
  • omega-Chloroacetophenone