It causes maiming, blinding, and death. According to PHR Deputy Director Richard Sollom:
"So-called tear gas, often considered a crowd-control method with no lasting harmful effects, can cause permanent injuries, miscarriages, and even fatalities as used by Bahrain's security forces."
"Those tactics include firing tear gas canisters directly at civilians or into their cars, houses, or other closed spaces where toxic effects are greatly exacerbated."
In three Bahrain visits since early 2011, Sollom said he documented "a government fixated on rhetoric rather than results."
He and Dr. Holly Atkinson, former PHR president, interviewed over 100 Bahrainis. They included victims, eyewitnesses, civil society leaders, and government officials.
Findings were based on physical examinations. For example:
A tear gas canister fired at close range struck a teenage boy in his left eye. It was deliberate. It fractured his eye socket, ruptured his eyeball, and left him blind in one eye.
Another tear gas canister was fired at a 27-year old bystander's head. He suffered a fractured skull and intracranial bleeding.
After exposure to toxic tear gas, a physiotherapist began wheezing, felt short of breath, and had trouble speaking for two weeks.
Several women suffering miscarriages told doctors they've risen considerably in neighborhoods affected by frequent tear gas use.
An asthma sufferer died from acute respiratory failure. He was exposed to tear gas several times.
PHR documented harmful tear gas effects 25 years ago. South Korea used it against civilian protesters. Toxic pulmonary damage and death followed. Many other long-term health consequences also occurred.
Bahrain uses toxic chemicals against nonviolent protesters. Some die. Others suffer health problems. Some become chronic.
Other countries use similar tactics. They include Israel, Turkey, Egypt, Greece, Honduras, the new Libya, and Uganda.