Hong Kong academics call for decontamination efforts as tear gas used for crowd control claimed to pose health and environmental risks

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(Reuters) – The use of tear gas to control crowds of protesters in the Chinese-ruled city of Hong Kong could have dangerous effects on health and the environment, a group of academics warns.

In an article last month in The Lancet, researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) called for government-led decontamination efforts in areas where tear gas has been dispersed, including residential neighborhoods and commercial shopping centers. They also commented on the lack of official guidelines on how to protect against side effects.

Since the article was published, Hong Kong’s Food and Health Bureau has acknowledged risks of tear gas exposure and advised citizens to wear masks, rubber gloves and aprons when removing residual material. The government’s Centre for Food Safety provided advice on how to protect food from being contaminated.

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