What Are Chemical Weapons, Anyway?

These compounds containing chloroacetophenone (CN) and chlorobenzylidenemalononitrile (CS) — if we spelled that wrong, just let us know in the comments — won’t kill you, but they’ll ruin your day and cause your mascara to run. Tear gas (pepper spray) is widely used by police to control rioter, and by civilians for self-defense purposes. If it gets in your eyes it burns like hell, causes excessive tearing, and blinds you temporarily. You’ll also experience irritation in your lungs, throat, mouth, and on your skin. Despite being non-lethal, these compounds have been banned for use in warfare since the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention.