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Pepper Spray: Organic Weaponry?

Jan 2, 2008
Pepper sprays have received a great deal of attention throughout the past decade. Do they work? How do they work? What do they do?

Pepper sprays have been used by many people for both professional and personal reasons. They typically work best when you can spray your attacker for a few moments. Pepper sprays are organic in that the main chemical is found in the chili peppers that people consume. They have been called everything from defense spray to mace, but pepper sprays maintain a composition uniquely their own.

The best sprays will be non-toxic and non-flammable. They may be either water- or oil-based. Experts recommend the oil based version as it is less likely to separate over time in the container.

Pepper sprays are made of liquid containing: Oleoresin capsicum (or OC). Oleoresin capsicum is a chemical extracted from the powerful cayenne pepper. This is typically the only active ingredient in the formula.

The stinging effects of pepper spray will last anywhere from twenty to ninety minutes, depending upon product specifications. This is enough time for any person to escape a threatening situation.

Pepper sprays are more effective than tear gas as they still have an effect on those who are under the influence. OC attacks the mucous membranes of a person and the symptoms are instant upon contact. The breathing tube will become inflamed, but will not block the airway. The eyes will be irritated and give the temporary sensation of blindness.

Oleoresin capsicum is a term from horticulture, but the primary ingredient that makes pepper spray so effective is capsicum. This is the active ingredient that makes pepper such as the scotch bonnet or the habanera so unbelievably hot. It is a powerful alkaloid that can be diluted millions of times and the heat will still be sensed.

Pepper sprays are commonly tested by a scale known as the Scoville Heat Unit, or SHU. This is the same method for measuring the heat of peppers. The more advanced High Pressure Liquid Chromatography methods are also used linking digital measuring with this trusted SHU system.

The shelf life is another factor that makes pepper sprays desirable. They do not have any expiration dates, and the contents are often guaranteed not to separate or change with age. Use them not only for human attackers, but also in situations where the threat of animal attack is present. Pepper sprays offer a non-lethal method of disabling an attacking animal. If you enjoy hiking, camping out, or work in a field that requires you to interact with strange animals, a good pepper spray can prevent an injury or loss.

The ultimate purpose for this spray, or any other non-lethal defense method, is to give a victim time to escape. They are not made to cause permanent injury or disability. The best products will be suited to your habits and your life.

Pepper sprays are often found as key chain attachments, hidden in canisters created to look like hair product containers or any of a variety of disguises. The portability makes them ideal for anyone with small pockets or purses. They can also easily fit into backpacks or camping gear without weighing the pack down.
About the Author
Steve Lane is an expert in the field of self defense, home security and crime prevention and operates an online business Self Defense Shop. Visit his store to learn some ways you can protect yourself and your loved ones from crime at http://www.laneselfdefense.com
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