Tears in Jamestown: A Pennsylvania company’s role in the global tear gas trade

Listen 16:10
Migrants run from tear gas launched by U.S. agents, amid photojournalists covering the Mexico-U.S. border, after a group of migrants got past Mexican police at the Chaparral crossing in Tijuana, Mexico, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

Migrants run from tear gas launched by U.S. agents, amid photojournalists covering the Mexico-U.S. border, after a group of migrants got past Mexican police at the Chaparral crossing in Tijuana, Mexico, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

The use of tear gas has evolved over the past century from a wartime weapon to a crowd dispersal tool to, some say, a cover for lethal force. Combined Systems, Inc., a tear gas manufacturer in western Pennsylvania has become a provider to security forces around the world and is now a major player in the global tear gas trade. On this episode of The Why, reporter Jen Kinney describes why the company is also embroiled in a legal battle with the neighbors of its manufacturing facilities in Jamestown, Pa.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.