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What Is The Purpose Of Pepper Spray?

May 12

Capsaicin, an inflammatory molecule, is found in pepper spray. When this substance comes into contact with the eyes of a human being, it causes intense pain, burning, and even the need to cry.

For self-defense against attackers, commercially available pepper spray is one option. In the United States, police enforcement officers use pepper spray to maintain order, manage crowds, and put an end to protests and rallies. Pepper spray's legality is still up for debate.

Learn about the dangers of pepper spray and how to treat a pepper spray overdose using the information on this page.


What Is The Function Of Pepper Spray?

Lacrimators, such as wholesale pepper spray, cause more tears to be produced in the eyes. Spray bottles and aerosol cans are the most common containers.

Pepper spray is mostly made up of the oil oleoresin capsicum. The Capsicum genus, which includes chili peppers, is responsible for the oil they create.

Pepper spray contains capsaicin, the chemical that gives chili peppers their unique spiciness. Pepper spray contains far more capsaicin than chili peppers do.

Capsicum oil is the active ingredient of bear spray, an aerosol meant to protect people from bears.

Pepper spray has an unusually high score on the Scoville heat units (SHU) scale, which measures the "hotness" of peppers. How spicy is it on the Scoville scale?

  • SHU is not found in bell peppers
  • Between 2,500 and 5,000 Scoville heat units are found in a jalapeo pepper (SHU)
  • Some pepper spray products measure as high as 5.3 million SHU, which is the quantity of pepper spray used by police officers

The capsaicin level of most pepper spray utilized by law enforcement is between 5% and 10%. Because of the increased potency, the effects last longer.

Law enforcement officials' use of pepper spray on civilian demonstrators has sparked controversy.

Pepper spray and tear gas are prohibited from being used in conflict under the Chemical Weapons Convention. However, law enforcement uses tear gas and pepper spray to disperse protesters and put an end to demonstrations.

Self-defense pepper spray can be obtained over-the-counter, however it is illegal in some parts of the United States.


Consequences On The Body

When pepper spray comes into contact with a person's eyes, it causes immediate eye closure, severe eye pain, and temporary blindness. Some people have described a bubbling or boiling feeling as well as acute pain.

In addition to the above, wholesale pepper spray can cause the following side effects:

  • An uncontrollable cough or wheezing loss of breath choking on snot and grasping for breath out of fear of losing one's capacity to communicate.
  • Rashes, blisters or burns may result from skin contact.
  • Abrasions of the cornea, also known as corneal abrasions, are reported by around 10% of persons. These scuffs are temporary and can be caused by rubbing one's eyes.

Even if the sensations are excruciating, they usually subside on their own. The majority of the time, they go away on their own within 30 minutes. Medical attention isn't usually required when getting information from a reputable source.

Particularly in those with lung issues, coughing or shortness of breath might persist a long period. It is possible for people with asthma or COPD to experience more severe respiratory difficulties than others.

Rarely, pepper spray can result in necrosis (bluish discoloration of the skin), a result of a lack of blood flow and oxygen.

Prolonged exposure can cause more significant damage to the eyes, skin, and respiratory system than the infrequent complications.

The Police Policy Studies Council suggests transporting an exposed individual to the hospital if their symptoms persist for more than 45 minutes or if they want it.

The organization advocates calling 911 if someone displays indications of discomfort after being exposed to pepper spray.

  • Involuntary loss of awareness
  • Inability to breathe due to discomfort in the chest

Some studies have found a correlation between asthmatic patients and death from pepper spray exposure, despite the fact that this is a rare occurrence.



For the most part, those who have been sprayed with pepper spray can reduce the length and intensity of their symptoms by following these steps:

  • Cleaning the region with a significant amount of water and relocating to a clean environment are the best ways to eradicate pollutants.
  • Decontaminating and preventing re-contamination by removing any clothes that may have come into touch with the spray. Because it irritates the eyes, soap should never be used around them.
  • To avoid re-contamination, remove any clothes that may have been in touch with the spray.
  • The oil-based solution might spread to other regions of the body if you touch the afflicted area. To aid in the removal of the chemical, you should blink rapidly.

Pepper spray may be removed with a variety of household products, including baby shampoo, milk, antacids, and lidocaine. A 2008 research showed no indication that these approaches were more effective than water.

Tear gas and pepper spray can be reduced by using baby shampoo and water alone, according to a Trusted Source investigation in 2018.

Emergency responders can use wipes and saline treatments to alleviate the effects of pepper spray exposure.

An emergency therapy for many chemicals that come into contact with the eyes or skin, including diphoterine, is effectiveTrusted Source, however research has shown that diphoterine does not properly remove pepper spray from the skin.

In most cases, the effects of pepper spray are self-limiting and do not require medical intervention.

Pepper spray has been used by law enforcement agents in the United States since the 1980s for crowd control and police purposes.

In addition to the excruciating pain and brief blindness that pepper spray inflicts on its victims, it also causes temporary deafness as well. This gives law enforcement the ability to hold and capture individuals, disperse protesters, and put a stop to demonstrations.

Debate still rages over the authorities' use of pepper spray. A leading human rights group has voiced significant worries over the use of pepper spray by police enforcement during the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in 2020.

Tear gas and pepper spray have been used as "a first resort tactic against peaceful demonstrators rather than in reaction to any form of genuine danger or violence," the study says. This raises serious questions.

Amnesty International documented 89 instances of tear gas usage by police in 15 states and the District of Columbia between the months of May and June.

Pepper spray is more commonly used against African-Americans than whites, according to a Harvard University research from 2016. Racial bias in law enforcement is a key cause for worry, but it is by no means the only one.

The pros and disadvantages of using pepper spray to manage crowds have been examined. In a 2017 source, 31 research from 11 countries examined the health consequences of using chemical irritants.

Researchers found that pepper spray has a "high potential for abuse, resulting in needless morbidity and fatality," notwithstanding its restricted usage in crowd control.


Do You Think Pepper Spray May Kill You?

The term "nonlethal weapon" refers to the fact that pepper spray cannot inflict death. Reports have connected the usage of pepper spray to a number of deaths, despite the fact that fatalities are rare.

According to a 2003 Department of Justice study, pepper spray was directly implicated in the deaths of two people held in prison. Police used pepper spray to subdue the crowd, and all of the suspects were taken into custody.

The study concluded that the deaths were caused by the pepper spray, and that pre-existing asthma was a role. More than a few individuals in the study died as a consequence of drug use, illness or positional asphyxia.

According to the same account, this is what happened:

"Pepper spray inhalation alone does not present a significant risk of respiratory compromise or asphyxiation, even when combined by positional confinement."