National Pepper Month: Debunking Pepper Spray Myths

11 22 2016

Chili Peppers with text overlay 'Debunking Pepper Spray Myths'

Celebrate National Pepper Month by learning the truth about these pepper spray myths.

Myth: Some people are not affected by pepper spray.

People walking down the street

Fact: Pepper sprays fail 30% of the time on the basis of heat inconsistency, but everyone is affected by pepper spray with ensured heat.

According to a 2001 University of Utah study, some pepper sprays fail because manufacturers do not undertake the necessary measures to guarantee stregnth consistency. SABRE's in-house high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) laboratory eliminates the 30% heat failure rate experienced with other brands.

HPLC is the only way to ensure there are no pepper spray failures on the basis of heat inconsistency. The process eliminates the possibility of bad batches. It guarantees the maximum strength of SABRE products, every single time.

Because pepper spray causes swelling of the mucous membranes, it slams the subject's eyes shut, regardless of inability to feel pain due to chemical influence or medical condition. Learn about the other effects of pepper spray.

Myth: Scoville heat units (SHU) are the accurate indicator of pepper spray potency.

Chili pepper

Fact: Major capsaicinoids are the true heat measure.

Brands popularly advertise the SHU of the raw pepper, not of the pepper spray formulation. The SHU of the raw peppers is highly diluted in the pepper spray formula, and therefore not an accurate indicator of strength.

Major capsaicinoids are the true indicator of pepper spray heat, and can only be guaranteed through HPLC testing

Use the following heat index when shopping for pepper spray, dog spray and bear spray.
Pepper spray heat index

Myth: I can't travel with my pepper spray.

Airplane interior

Fact: You can fly with pepper spray in your checked luggage.

According to the Code of Federal Regulations, 49 CFR Part 175.10, Exceptions for passengers, crewmembers, and air operators, (9) One self-defense spray (see §171.8 of this subchapter), not exceeding 118 mL (4 fluid ounces) by volume, that incorporates a positive means to prevent accidental discharge may be carried in checked baggage only. See FAA regulations. Shop SABRE's on the go section - all products under 4 fluid ounces are FAA compliant.

Myth: Pepper spray is not legal in certain states.

U.S. map

Fact: Pepper spray is legal to sell and carry in all 50 states.

Some states do have restrictions.

Myth: Wasp spray is an effective substitute for pepper spray.

Wasp on a flower

Fact: Wasp spray is not effective on humans.

Take it from our SABRE Quality Assurance & Safety Manager, Nicole Robbins.

“The amount of active ingredients in the spray (according to the label) are 0.04% to 0.06%; the compound is typically ‘pyrethrin or pyrethroids, which come from a species of chrysanthemum plant,’ explains Extension.org. This active ingredient is meant to disrupt a wasp’s nervous system.

On the other hand, human pepper sprays target a human’s eyes and respiratory system. Think of the biology and size differences between wasps and humans!

Independent testing concludes that wasp spray is ‘minimally’ irritating to human eyes, so how could it be expected to incapacitate a goal-oriented attacker?”

Designed specifically for use on humans, pepper spray causes: involuntary eye closure; swelling of the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and throat; nasal and sinus discharge; coughing; shortness of breath; drying of the eyes; involuntary eye closure; painful burning of the skin; hyperventilation; and psychological effects such as fear, anxiety and panic.