83% of people in the study saw changes to their reproductive health after being exposed to tear gas
- 69% had cramping
- 55% had their period/menstrual bleeding earlier than expected
- 30% had breast tenderness
- 19% had their period/menstruation start earlier than expected
In our study we also looked for which factors are related to experiencing changes in reproductive health after tear gas exposure. We found several factors to be associated with seeing changes in reproductive health:
- If people were exposed to tear gas for more days
- If people’s period had changed in response to stress in the past
- Hormone use
- Where people were exposed
These factors were all significantly related to tear gas exposure. This means the relationship between these factors and experiencing changes after exposure to tear gas could be random chance, but it’s unlikely.
Both people who see changes in their period when they get stressed and those who don’t had changes in their reproductive health after tear gas exposure. But people who do see changes in their period when they get stressed, saw even more changes after tear gas exposure then people who didn’t This might be because these people are more affected by tear gas.
People who use hormones such as birth control or gender-affirming treatment saw more changes to their reproductive health than those who don’t. This is likely because so many people who participated in our study use hormones. It is also possible that people who have very regular periods because they use hormones would be more likely to notice a change.
We can’t say there is direct causation between tear gas exposure and changes in reproductive health because this was not a controlled experiment. There are possible sources of bias including recruiting people from email and social media and self-report bias. We still think this is an important study because we’ve collected nationwide data about tear gas exposure and changes in reproductive health. Our survey also included a lot of questions about people’s reproductive health history to help us better understand this topic.