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Rachel explains how "Scoville Units" are calculated and where pepper spray stands on the scale

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Scuba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 06:44 AM
Original message
Rachel explains how "Scoville Units" are calculated and where pepper spray stands on the scale
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show/#45410896


Compares various peppers, Tobasco sauce, habaneros, ghost peppers and of course, pepper spray. Further discussion regarding doses, distance from which the capsicum is sprayed and effects on humans. Studies of pepper-workers are cited.


With Deborah Blum.


Runs just over nine minutes.
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livvy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 07:07 AM
Response to Original message
1. Scientific American Article on Pepper Spray
About Pepper Spray

By Deborah Blum | November 21, 2011


One hundred years ago, an American pharmacist named Wilbur Scoville developed a scale to measure the intensity of a peppers burn. The scale as you can see on the widely used chart to the left puts sweet bell peppers at the zero mark and the blistering habanero at up to 350,000 Scoville Units.

I checked the Scoville Scale for something else yesterday. I was looking for a way to measure the intensity of pepper spray, the kind that police have been using on Occupy protestors including this weeks shocking incident involving peacefully protesting students at the University of California-Davis.

As the chart makes clear, commercial grade pepper spray leaves even the most painful of natural peppers (the Himalayan ghost pepper) far behind. Its listed at between 2 million and 5.3 million Scoville units. The lower number refers to the kind of pepper spray that you and I might be able to purchase for self-protective uses. And the higher number? Its the kind of spray that police use, the super-high dose given in the orange-colored spray used at UC-Davis.

The reason pepper-spray ends up on the Scoville chart is that you probably guessed this - its literally derived from pepper chemistry, the compounds that make habaneros so much more formidable than the comparatively wimpy bells. Those compounds are called capsaicins and in fact pepper spray is more formally called Oleoresin Capsicum or OC Spray.
Continue reading at the link...

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2011/11/21/about-pepper-spray/
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Scuba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 07:36 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Excellent amplification! Thanks!
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Vinca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 07:40 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. Wow - I knew it was bad, but I didn't know it was that bad.
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Maine_Nurse Donating Member (688 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 10:16 AM
Response to Reply #1
8. Actually, that isn't 100% correct...
(not agreeing with what some police have been doing)

Most current larger canisters in use by US police as riot control devices are a relatively low concentration of OC (5-10%) as compared to the up to 22% found in smaller civilian personal use cans.
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Scuba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 02:05 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. Haven't seen that previously, just the opposite. That police are using the "hot stuff". Can you ..
... provide any link or reference? Thanks.
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customerserviceguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 07:16 AM
Response to Original message
2. Glad she did this
"Pepper spray" is a doublespeak euphemism for "toxic poison". They want people to think its some sort of condiment, or something benign.
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ladyVet Donating Member (279 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 07:42 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. Exactly right.
Minimize the risks and effects, and turn people speaking out against it into whiny babies.

I've been "pepper" sprayed, courtesy of Uncle Sam during tear gas training in the USAF, and it wasn't any fun.
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Hissyspit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #2
9. People who have been sprayed with it know: It hurts like hell.
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Frustratedlady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 08:38 AM
Response to Original message
6. The RW would have been ecstatic if the police had water-boarded them
to clear off the pepper spray.

I still say that if we had the Roman arenas back, there wouldn't be a ticket available to buy...Lions: 12/Peons: 0! They want blood and they want to sit and enjoy it being drawn. Idjits!
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Major Hogwash Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 09:21 AM
Response to Original message
7. Man, if that don't wake people up as to how bad of an assault that was, nothing ever will.
That cop should be canned.
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