Stories of odd menstrual cycles are emerging out of Seattle among residents exposed to police-deployed tear gas during Black Lives Matter protests.
More than a dozen protesters, reporters and even residents living near demonstrations have reported weird periods after their exposure, KUOW, the local NPR station, reported.
One woman, Jessi Murray, 32, told the outlet she had three periods in a 28-day window after the gas wafted into her apartment window when it was deployed nearby her home. And a transgender man, Matthew, told KUOW he had his first period in three years after getting gassed at multiple protests he attended.
Medical experts raised red flags to the station, warning since the chemicals commonly used by police departments in the United States, known as CS gas, were originally designed for war, there has not been enough studies to show its impact on women.
Dr. Lora Shahine, a local fertility doctor, told NPR the “extremely stressful” nature of the world during the pandemic, and recent civil unrest, could disrupt periods. But she also voice concern over the lack of information regarding long-term impacts of tear gas.
“We’re in a unique situation where people who might be protesting on a really regular basis might be exposed to [tear gas] more than we’ve ever seen before,” Shahine said.
“Especially in the United States, chemicals are considered safe until proven not safe,” she said. “We should really rethink these chemicals because we haven’t studied them in humans. So how do we know that they’re safe?”