An Open Letter from the Scientific Community to Politicians Regarding the Use of Chemical Weapons

Dear American Elected Officials,

We, the undersigned members of the scientific community, request that you leverage any and all avenues to halt current and future use of chemical weapons against civilians.

The use of chemical weapons (such as tear gas and munition smoke) constitutes an indiscriminate application of toxic materials to a non-consenting population and the environment with short and long-term consequences for both.

By their very nature, chemical weapons include compounds designed to interact with components of their environment, including humans. These fundamentally reactive compounds significantly impact human health and well-being in the short and long-term. However, their impacts are not limited to humans and can have significant ecological consequences. Additionally, disbursement of many of these compounds into the environment without remediation constitutes illegal disposal of hazardous wastes under the Environmental Protection Act.

First-hand accounts and collected munitions indicate that such weapons are often deployed without regard to explicitly labeled disbursement requirements, such as “use only outdoors”, “use from at least a minimal safe distance”, and “use only within 5 years of the manufacture date”. Using chemical weapons in such situations puts human lives in significant risk.

Presently, however, law enforcement is functionally allowed to use chemical weapons against civilians without consequence. Further, private industry is allowed to manufacture munitions for law enforcement using known aquatic toxins and probable human carcinogens, while providing incomplete documentation of components and risks. Given the obfuscation of components, indiscriminate nature, and reactivity of chemical weapons, victims of their impacts are not able to readily obtain information about what weapons were used and in what condition they were deployed. Instead, they are forced to first identify the chemicals used on them via forensics and then determine their consequences. Even if indications are strong that the chemicals are more noxious than law enforcement states, including carcinogenicity, agencies can continue to use the chemical weapons until they are proven toxic.

Leveraging of this “assumed safe” loophole as a tactical approach against protesters amounts to chemical experimentation on humans. Given that the recipient population (including bystanders) is not able to determine fundamentally how it is impacted by the munitions and individuals may not be able to leave areas made unsafe, the use of chemical weapons by any state against its people is an act of domestic terrorism.

As professionals who hold basic ethical standards for the use of human subjects in experimental trials and treatment of the environment, we insist that you do as well.

We specifically demand the following:

  1. A complete moratorium on chemical weapons being used on humans in the United States.
  2. Full dismantling and proper disposal of law enforcement chemical weapons caches.
  3. The legal default being set such that a chemical is not to be used and evidence must be provided of its safety before base consideration (“assumed toxic”).
  4. Potential chemical weapons must undergo the same review as chemicals involved in agricultural applications.
  5. They must also undergo a further review to specifically address use against humans.

Swiftly enacting this platform will help save human lives, reduce negative impacts on the environment, and counter-act fascism.

With best regards,


Dr. Juniper L. Simonis, they/them; DAPPER Stats, Executive Director & Principal Scientist


William Booker, he/him; Florida State University, PhD Candidate
Dr. Sara Garnett, she/her; Michigan State University, Research Associate
Helen Caddes, she/her; Musician / Digital Media Specialist
Dr. Maryam Zaringhalam, she/her; 500 Women Scientists, Leadership Member
Russ Dial, he/him; Pierce County Master Gardener,Chemical weapons are toxic to plants as well as humans
Dr Jamie Uhrig, they; Staff Physician, Correctional Health Services, New York City Health + Hospitals
Kade McVay, he/him; Broomshire Unlimited, Co-founder
Gail Stonebarger, she/her; OHSU Behavioral Neuroscience graduate researcher, PhD candidate
Dr. Jonathan Walter, he/him; Ronin Institute for Independent Scholarship, Research Scholar
Dr. Kelly Ramirez, she/her; 500 Women Scientists, Co-Founder; Assistant Professor, UTEP
Dr. Karen Dyson, she/her; Dendrolytics Lab; Founder
Dr Alex Bond, he/him; University of Tasmania & University of the Highlands & Islands
Sarah E Myhre PhD, she/her; Rowan Institute, ED Kavli Fellow with the National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine
Dr.Teresa Swanson, she/her; Research Scientist, Miller Lab, Univ. of Washington
Heather Price, PhD, she/her; Atmospheric Chemist, Air pollution and climate researcher and educator
Amberlie Barnard, she/her; VR Analytical, Chemist II
Dr. Travis Hinkelman, he/him; Environmental Science Associates, Senior Data Scientist
Jeremy B Yoder, he/him; CSU Northridge, Assistant Professor of Biology
Jeffrey Letourneau, he/him; Duke University, PhD Candidate NSF GRFP Fellow
Kristina Bissonette, she/her Dr. Cathleen Fry, she/they; LANL, Agnew National Security Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr. Justin Colacino, he/him; University of Michigan, John G. Searle Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Sciences; 2019-20 President of the Michigan Regional Chapter of the Society of Toxicology
Jessica Velez, she/her; University of Tennessee Knoxville, Graduate Research Assistant Dr. Brendan J. Pinto, he/him; University of Texas at Austin, Department of Integrative Biology, Postdoctoral Researcher; Milwaukee Public Museum, Research Associate
Dr. Maleah Paisley, she; Medical Laboratory Scientist
Zoey Werbin, she/her; Boston University, PhD Student; National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow
Dr Leslie New, she/her; Washington Stats University Vancouver, Assistant Professor
Lauren Edwards, she/her; 500 Women Scientists, Executive Leadership Ira Kraemer, they/them; Graduate Student in Neuroscience
Dr. Hao Ye, he/him; University of Florida, Health Science Center Libraries
Dr. Maleah Paisley, She; Medical Laboratory Scientist
Dr. Ethan White, he/him; University of Florida
Dr. Rebecca Barnes, she/her; Colorado College, Associate Professor of Environmental Science
David Dayan, PhD, he/him; Oregon State University
Charise Johnson, she/her; British Academy, Policy Advisor
Dr. Emily Rollinson, she/her; East Stroudsburg University, Assistant Professor of Biology
Sahana Kuthyar, she/her; UC San Diego, Graduate Student
Jessica Sido, PhD, She/Her; Senior Scientist
EBeil, She/Her; Art Educator & Color Scientist
Dr. Julia Maresca, She/her; University of Delaware, Associate Professor
Dr. Gretchen Goldman, she/her; 500 Women Scientists, Leadership Board Member
Dr. Loren Cassin Sackett, She/her; Assistant Professor, University of Louisiana
Kelly Mistry, She/her; Graduate student
Dr. Glenda Yenni, she/her; University of Florida
Elizabeth Mohr, She/her; Montana State University, Ph.D. Candidate
Dr. Morgan Ernest, she/her; Associate Professor
Dr. Alejandra Maldonado, she/her; Toxicologist
Jessica O’Neill, she/her; University at Buffalo, Doctoral candidate, American Public Health Association Policy Institute student scholar; Co-founder of Buffalo, NY 500 Women Scientists
Dr. Valérie Vilmont, she/her; CHUV -Clinical Scientist
Msc. Melissa Mendes, she/her; McGill University, PhD Candidate
Morgan Malone, she/her; Graduate Student
Ceri Jensen, she/her; Engineer
Dr. Sara Winings, she/her; PharmD
Dr. Stephanie Fronk, she/her; Process engineer
Amika Savage, MN, APRN, FNP-BC, CHES, she/they; Oregon Health & Science University, Doctoral Student
Dr. Gloria Tavera, she/hers; Case Western Reserve University, PhD, MD Candidate
Nina Damm, she/her; Washington State University, PhD student
Emily Sutton, she/her; University of Oregon, PhD candidate
K Danowski, she/her; retired
Dr. A.L. Carter, they/them/theirs; Sage Grant Writing, Founder & Lead Consultant
Zachary Wilson, he/him; Information Systems Engineer
Jacob Rose, he/him; Brown University, PhD student in Electrical & Computer Engineering
Amelia Abreu, she/her; UX Night School, Teacher and Researcher, Founder
Hazel Anderson, she/her; Michigan State University, Undergraduate Student
Megan Lynch, she/her; UC Davis, Masters student
Loretta Koll, M.Ed., she/her; Educator
Dr. Alia Dietsch, she/her; The Ohio State University, Assistant Professor

version 0.0.2 2020-08-10

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