Chemistry and Nutritional Effects of Capsicum
Chapter 10: Peppers as Non-lethal Weapons
Published:28 Nov 2022
Special Collection: 2022 ebook collection
2022. "Peppers as Non-lethal Weapons", Chemistry and Nutritional Effects of Capsicum, Valdir Florencio da Veiga, Jr, Larissa Silveira Moreira Wiedemann, Claudio Pereira de Araujo, Jr, Ananda da Silva Antonio
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One of the most controversial uses of chilli peppers is as defensive weapons. The incapacitating power of chillies can take an ordinary civilian to the ground in seconds. This effect is caused by the capsaicinoids, which have toxic effects on contact with the eyes and the respiratory system. Capsaicinoids are the most pungent chemical class recorded by humans. Their pungency, so welcome as a food seasoning, causes a burning sensation in the eyes and difficulties in breathing. This terrible sensation usually only lasts for about 20 min and has an extremely low mortality rate. If used correctly, the exposed person will have no sequela. There are several commercial formulations of chilli peppers for use as a defensive weapon and some formulations can be prepared at home. As a result of the controversies regarding their use, there has been little scientific development of pepper sprays, although such studies are necessary for quality control and the safety and efficacy of products commercialised to civilians. Pepper sprays are only intended to be used in cases where people need to escape from a murderer, a robber or a rapist. There is currently no global consensus as to whether pepper sprays are a defence device or an offensive weapon. This chapter considers the factors that need to be addressed to ensure the preservation of human life through the regulation and quality control of such devices.