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Loreben Tuquero
By Loreben Tuquero March 5, 2024

A Texas petition doesn’t prove chemtrails are real

If Your Time is short

  • "Chemtrails" are a conspiracy theory that claims that the condensation trails behind aircraft are part of a secret, large-scale program to poison the atmosphere with toxic chemicals. Chemtrails are not real, scientists and the U.S. Air Force say. 

  • A group called Clean Texas Skies is circulating a petition asking Texas state lawmakers to pass legislation to prohibit "aerosolized spraying," which appears to be part of the chemtrails conspiracy theory. The petition doesn’t prove chemtrails are real.

  • Learn more about PolitiFact’s fact-checking process and rating system.

Can Texas elected officials outlaw something that doesn’t exist? Social media users baselessly claim Texas might be the first state to get rid of so-called "chemtrails."

"BREAKING: Texas could become the first state to outlaw ‘chemtrails’ with a new petition that is collecting signatures to ask state representatives to pass laws banning dangerous atmospheric aerosol spraying," read the text of a screenshot in a Dec. 18 Facebook post.

(Screenshot from Facebook)

The post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

We’ve debunked several claims about "chemtrails," a conspiracy theory that claims that the condensation trails behind aircraft are part of a secret, large-scale program to poison the atmosphere with toxic chemicals. The U.S. Air Force and scientists say chemtrails are not real.

@politifact Replying to @Trixie #factcheck: A petition for #Texas state lawmakers to pass legislation banning “aerosolized spraying” doesn’t prove #chemtrails exist. The condensation trails, or #contrails, that you see in the sky behind #planes are a natural phenomenon and they don’t pose #health risks. #environment #fyp #learnontiktok ♬ Suspense, horror, piano and music box - takaya

In the Facebook video, a man read an excerpt from a Jan. 19, 2023, article in  The People’s Voice, a site known for spreading misinformation. The article said, "Texas is set to become the first state to potentially outlaw the spraying of aerosolized particulate matter into the skies — a phenomenon commonly referred to as ‘chemtrails.’" 

Featured Fact-check

The article links to a petition by Clean Texas Skies, a group asking state legislators to pass legislation to prohibit "aerosolized spraying" without testing and approval from public representatives. The petition did not use the word "chemtrails" but used other language from the chemtrails conspiracy theory, saying that the trails behind airplanes are part of a covert U.S. military operation. Some chemtrails theories posit the spraying means to reduce people’s life expectancy or sterilize them, control people’s minds or control the weather. 

The petition included photos of what it said were "crisscrossing bands of substances and particulates" in the sky, claiming that the condensation trails formed by passing jet planes are thin and disperse quickly, but the trails in the photos are heavy and spread out.

According to the National Weather Service, contrails don’t necessarily disperse quickly; how quickly they fade hinges on how much humidity is in the atmosphere. The more humid the atmosphere, the longer the contrail will last. NASA’s Earth Observatory said some contrail clusters have lasted up to 14 hours.

Crisscross condensation trail vapor patterns are found in areas with heavily traveled air space and an atmosphere conducive to the formation of contrails, the National Weather Service said. 

"Persistence of contrails is neither an indication that they contain some kind of chemical, nor that it is some kind of spray," the agency said.

A U.S. Air Force fact sheet said, "There is no such thing as a ‘chemtrail.’ Contrails are safe and are a natural phenomenon. They pose no health hazard of any kind."

We rate the claim that a Texas petition to outlaw "aerosolized spraying" is evidence of chemtrails Pants on Fire! ​

Our Sources

Facebook post (archived), Dec. 18, 2023

The People’s Voice, Texas Becomes First State To Potentially Outlaw Chemtrails, Jan. 19, 2023

"STOP Poisoning Our Families" petition, accessed March 1, 2024

PolitiFact, ‘Chemtrails’ are not causing diseases. They’re not real., April 27, 2023

PolitiFact, Chemtrails are not real, no matter what Alexa says, April 13, 2022

PolitiFact, Claim that U.S. government is spraying ‘toxic brew of chemicals’ from airplanes is a conspiracy, Feb. 2, 2022

Climate Feedback, US proposed bills and hearings do not confirm the use of chemtrails, which do not exist and are not a geoengineering strategy, Jan. 26, 2024

Harvard University, David Keith’s Research Group, Chemtrails Conspiracy Theory, accessed March 5, 2024

National Weather Service, Clouds and Contrails, accessed March 1, 2024

NASA Earth Observatory, Criss-Crossing Contrails, accessed March 1, 2024

Contrails Facts from the U.S. Air Force, accessed March 1, 2024

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A Texas petition doesn’t prove chemtrails are real

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