What is pepper spray?

Pepper Spray is a non-lethal self-defense aerosol device, which is legal in all states to protect against an attacker. It is effective for use in humans and animals. Special versions of pepper spray are sold for protection against aggressive dogs and even bears. It is very popular with law enforcement officers and you will notice that most police officers and security guards carry some form of pepper spray, tear gas, or mace.

The main ingredient in pepper spray is Oleoresin Capsicum or OC. This is a chemical that comes from a hot pepper like Cayenne Peppers. It is combined and diluted with other liquids that make it usable together with a propellant and then the final results are placed in a small pressurized container. This boat can be easily carried in your pocket or purse so that it is available when you need it. Small containers can include a key ring or belt clip for carrying. Larger sizes are available for use at home, at work, or in your car.

Pepper spray strength is measured using Scoville or SHU heat units. A man named Wilbur Scoville created the classification system. The heat rating is determined by the type of chili pepper used and the concentration percentage of the extract. Green bell peppers are zero SHU and jalapenos are between 3,000-6,000 SHU. Some companies even use Scoville Heat Units in their advertising to promote hot sauces. If you see a pepper spray rated 18%, that means it contains 18% pepper oil.

Pepper spray is technically legal in all 50 states. Some states have restrictions on pepper spray because it can be considered dangerous weapons and has been used by criminals against crime victims. In Massachusetts and New York, you can only buy pepper spray from a licensed gun dealer or pharmacist and they will be asked to record the sale. In California and Washington state there is a limit to the potency of pepper spray sold. Any product can be dangerous if used incorrectly. There are people who have been hospitalized for consuming hot sauces that are too hot. Some are so hot that they can even cause burns to the lips and mouth when worn.

To be most effective, pepper spray should be applied to and around the attacker’s face, especially the eyes and nose. The attacker’s eyes will immediately close, causing him to be temporarily blinded. They will feel a strong burning sensation on their face and mucous membranes that will cause pain and discomfort. This will incapacitate your attacker so he can escape and call the police.

You should be aware that there is a shelf life for pepper spray. Efficacy is reduced because hot pepper oil loses its strength over time. Your pepper spray should be replaced approximately every two years.

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