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The Story Behind The Pepper Spray

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pepper spray

  Today, the pepper spray is an indispensable self-defense tool, especially to women. But women are not the only ones who use it.  In fact, it was approved for use by civilians after the FBI found it an effective tool to control unruly mobs without causing irreparable damage. Have you ever wondered about whose idea it was to use pepper sprays as weapons.

Here’s the story…

The use of chemicals rather than violence, in self defense has a long and interesting history.  As far back as 428 BC, the Spartans used a combination of burnt wood and sulfur to produce toxic fumes that kept enemies at bay.

The earliest known pepper spray was invented by the ancient Chinese. They flung wrapped, powdered chili pepper on their opponents faces. Sometime during the mid 19th century, the Japanese police of the Tukagawa Empire came up with an innovative box that could spray pepper into their opponents’ eyes. They dubbed it “Mitsubishi”.

It is the Mitsubishi that has evolved into the modern day self defense spray. Oleoresin Capsaicin (OC) is the environment friendly ingredient used in this spray. Meant to be sprayed on the opponent’s eyes, it causes pain, tears and momentary blindness, effectively incapacitating the attacker be it human or animal. The modern day version was developed by Dr. Frank Hayes and Prof. James H. Jenkins in 1960. It was first used by the FBI as a non-violent way to control violent mobs.

Research has shown that these sprays can been used to prevent animal attack. The Postal Service of the US issues dog pepper sprays to its personnel delivering letters to protect themselves against dog attacks. They are used in Alaska to effectively stop bear attacks.


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