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Exposure to the riot control agent CS and potential health effects: a systematic review of the evidence.

o-Chlorobenzylidene malononitrile (CS) is one of the most extensively used riot control agents. Our aim was to conduct a systematic review of the potential health effects related to CS exposure. We searched for papers in English between 1991 and 2014. Thirty five (35) studies (25 case reports, seven descriptive studies and three analytical studies) were included in the review. In the twenty five case reports/series 90 cases of exposure to CS and their clinical effects are presented. Their mean age was 25.7 years and 62.0% were males. In addition, 61% of the cases described dermal, 40% respiratory, 57% ocular clinical effects. Life threatening situations as well as long-term health effects were found and were related with exposure to confined/enclosed space. Descriptive and analytical studies have shown attack rates ranging from 12% to 40%. Subjects who were sprayed by the police more often needed special treatment and reported adverse health effects. Apart from transient clinical effects, CS could have lasting and serious effects on human health. Better surveillance of the subjects exposed to CS and completion of cohort studies among exposed populations will illuminate the spectrum of the health effects of exposure to CS.

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