OLEORESIN CAPSICUM (OC)
Oleoresin Capsicum (OC), commonly called pepper spray, is derived from the Capsicum plant, which includes chili peppers, red peppers, jalapeno and paprika, but not black pepper. The capsicums are hardy and adaptable, sometimes developing new characteristics of shape, color, size and pungency. Today there are some 20 species and 300 varieties of Capsicum (Ref 11).
Capsicum was used in cuisine as early as 7000 BC by Mexican Indians. It was also used as a weapon by the ancient Chinese and the Mexican Indians (in 1492) who burned pepper in oil to create an irritating and suffocating smoke (Ref. 10). The Japanese also bound a finely ground pepper in rice paper which they used to throw in the faces of the enemy (Ref. 10).
Tests involving OC were conducted on human subjects at Edgewood Arsenal in 1921. More extensive animal studies were conducted in 1968 and OC became readily available to the public in the mid 1970s (Ref. 5). However, popular use of OC as a riot control agent or as a defensive weapon only began in the late 1980s (Red 6).
The U.S. civilian law enforcement agencies turned to OC as a force alternative as it became clear that tear gases were not consistently effective on subjects with either a high pain threshold or who were oblivious to pain stimuli (Ref. 3). In addition, the cross-contamination of equipment and clothing experienced by officers, and the difficulties associated with decontamination subsequent to the use of CS contributed to the desire for an alternative method of incapacitating violent or threatening subjects (Ref. 6). The apparent success of OC used by civilian law enforcement officers in defusing potentially volatile situations led to U.S. military interest in OC as an alternative for use in resolving military conflicts conducted in the midst of civilian populations.
OC DELIVERY AND CARRIER SYSTEMS
One of the major factors separating one OC spray from another is the delivery or carrier system used. The most popular carrier for OC is isopropyl alcohol. Other options include, but are not limited to, Freon, Dymel-22, Dymel-134, Genetron-141B, methylene chloride, and water. Differing threshold limit values (concentrations above which respiratory protection is required), will affect the amount of aerosol of each preparation that is available for mixing with the OC in each OC spray device. This will affect the solubility of OC in the mixture and consequently the percentage of OC. The percentage of OC- and evaporation rate of the carrier will affect the efficacy of the product.
Of the carriers listed above, isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) is the only one that is not subject to the provisions of the Montreal Protocol. The Montreal Protocol attempts to protect the Earth's ozone layer by reducing the amount of fluorine, chlorine, and bromine released into the atmosphere, seeking to do this by eliminating or reducing the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC). Freons (a trade-name applied to a family of CFCs) have been banned by the Protocol and by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency EPA). Dymel, Genetron, and methylene chloride are nonflammable refrigerants as defined by the HCFC group. Use of HCFCs is limited, but not banned, by the Montreal Protocol. Genetron, at room temperature, exhibits no toxic effects (Ref. 29). However, when heated or exposed to open flames, both Genetron and methylene chloride emit toxic fumes (Ref. 30). Dymel is toxic when inhaled and has shown mutagenic effects in animals. In addition, DuPont Chemicals, the manufacturer of Dymel, suggests that exposure of facial tissue to Dymel may result in an unsafe situation (Ref. 31); specifically, the material safety data sheet for Dymel states that contact with liquid Dymel may cause frostbite. Methylene chloride is also used in paint removers and may be "reasonably expected to be a carcinogen (Ref. 23). Isopropyl alcohol is not carcinogenic and is not known to be toxic except to rat fetuses (Ref. 29). Ingesting isopropyl alcohol causes reduced pulse and blood pressure and may cause hallucinations and nausea (Ref. 29). When applied to rabbit eyes, isopropyl alcohol also causes a mild transitory injury (graded 4 on a scale of 1 to 10) (Ref. 18). Other alcohols, however, may be toxic or carcinogenic.
Because OC is soluble in all of the above listed carriers including isopropyl alcohol, these carriers are effective for OC spray. In addition, all of these carriers have very high evaporation rates; leaving little residue of the carrier to impede the action of the OC when it is sprayed (Ref. 11), thereby simplifying decontamination. However, isopropyl alcohol is the only carrier listed that is miscible with water, making water an effective decontaminant. The refrigerant agents require soap in addition to water for effective decontamination. Prolonged skin contact with clothing contaminated by refrigerant agents is to be avoided. Isopropyl alcohol is already used in household products such as hairsprays and hand lotions, as well as in many other quick-drying products (Ref. 23) none of which are harmful if sprayed in the face, unlike refrigerant agents.
DISSEMINATION AND APPLICATION
The method of disseminating pepper spray depends largely on the number of expected subjects (Ref. 17). Manufacturers offer several OC concentrations and spray patterns for applications for personal use or crowd control (Ref. 3). Also offered are devices that provide a spray pattern or trigger mechanism. Some OC sprays release a fine mist or fog in cone pattern, while others spray a stream of OC toward the subject (Ref. 7). Opinion seems to be divided on the utility of the spray pattern. Some prefer the mist or fog cone pattern as the mist uniformly blankets the cone shaped area in front of the subject. This coverage ensures that the mist will penetrate behind eyeglasses and hands or forearms thrown up to protect the eyes. In addition, use of the mist does not require accurate aim to incapacitate the subject.
The OC spray must begin to evaporate before it achieves its most effective concentration or distribution. If too much evaporation occurs, the pungency of the OC will be adversely affected. Consequently, the mist or fog pattern is most effective at moderate distances. At short distances, the cone pattern will act as a stream.
The stream pattern will travel greater distances before evaporation than will the mist or fog. However, the evaporation rate of the concentrated stream will be slower than that of the fog and may not affect the respiratory system as quickly. The stream must be directed at the eyes of the subject and be reasonably accurate to be effective. Multiple aggressors must each be sprayed and the effectiveness of the stream will be decreased because eyeglasses, hands and forearms will block much of the effect of the spray. While the stream will penetrate porous coverings (such as shirts) held in front of the face more effectively than a mist, the narrow stream may cause eye damage or be swallowed. Each of the latter must be considered in light of lawsuits and toxicity concerns (Ref. 11).
APPENDIX B. U.S. MILITARY RIOT CONTROL AGENTS
A riot control agent is a chemical that produces transient effects that disappear within minutes of removal from exposure and very rarely requires medical treatment (Ref. 39). Riot control agents have found widespread use in both the U.S. military units and civilian law enforcement agencies. Generally, there are two classes of riot control agents, which are irritant agents and vomiting agents. Since vomiting agents are no longer used by either the U.S. military services or civilian law enforcement agencies, this discussion will focus only on the group of agents known as irritants.
Irritant agents, or lacrimators, are local irritants that, in very low concentrations, act primarily on the eyes, causing intense pain and lacrimation. Higher concentrations irritate the upper respiratory tract and the skin, and sometimes cause nausea and vomiting. These agents may be dispersed as fine particulate aerosols or in solutions as droplet aerosols. Examples of irritant agents are CS, CN, chloroacetophenone solutions (CNB, CNC, CNS), CA and dibenzoxazepine (CR).
Although the tear gas agents CA, CN, CR and CS have all been used by the U.S. military in the past, only CR and CS remain in the arsenal. CA was one of the earliest tear gas agents, but it has been rendered obsolete by the advent of more effective riot control agents (Ref. 40). The military also considers CN obsolete because it is more toxic and less effective than CS. Various combinations of CN with other chemicals designed to tailor agent properties to the method of dissemination are no longer stockpiled (Ref. 40). Agents CR and CS are the current riot control agents used by the U.S. military (Ref. 41).
B.2 CURRENT INVENTORY of MILITARY RIOT CONTROL AGENTS/MUNlTIONS
Representatives from the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps were contacted to determine the current status of inventoried riot control agents and munitions used for their dispersal/dissemination. The following summarize the status of these currently inventoried riot control agents and munitions.
B.2.1 U.S. Air Force
The U.S. Air Force (USAF) uses riot control agents and munitions in a limited capacity. During combat operations, the defense of an air base perimeter can include the use of CS delivered in a 40 mm cartridge with an M203 grenade launcher. No other CS munitions are currently inventoried.
The Office of the Surgeon General of the USAF has approved the use of pepper spray (OC) (Ref. 53). Subsequently, in 1994, the USAF Non-nuclear Munitions Safety Board (NNMSB) approved the use of Zarc International's product, CAP-STUN., Model Z-305. Model Z-305 is the OC item to be used for standard duty use including direct spraying at one (single) or more (multiple) subjects for law enforcement application. Zarc International pioneered the weaponization of OC in 1982 and is the only brand of OC to gain approval from the USAF. The first centralized purchase of OC for USAF security forces occurred in 1994. The use of OC is limited to the Air Combat Command Security Police for USAF policing activities (Ref. 11). Table B-1 summarizes the munitions currently used for riot control in the USAF.
Table B-1. U.S. Air Force Riot Control Agents/Munitions (Ref. 45)
B22 U.S. Army
The current riot control agent munitions fielded by the U.S. Army consist of two agents: CS and CR, while U.S. Army munitions include two CS grenades: the M7A3 and M47. In addition, two other types of 40 mm CS cartridges-the M651 and M674, can be fired from a shotgun or the M203 grenade launcher. An 8-lb, man-portable CS dispenser called the M33A1 is also available. CS can also be dispersed using the M5, a 50-pound dispenser mounted to either a vehicle or helicopter. The man-portable M36 is used to disperse CR (Ref. 29).
The U.S. Army Medical Command and the U.S. Army Military Police approved the use of OC for daily law enforcement activities in November 1994 (Ref. 30). Although military police used OC during recent actions in Haiti and Somalia, it was purchased specifically for these actions and was not part of an of official less-than-lethal strategy. The U.S. Army purchased OC for use in Somalia in February 1993 and Haiti in September 1994 (Ref. 53). Table B-2 summarizes the riot control agents/munitions currently inventoried by the U.S. Army.
Table B-2 U.S. Army Riot Control Agents/Munitions
B.2~3 U.S. Marine Corps
The riot control agent weapn inventory of the U.S. Marine Corps is limited to the agent CS. Inventoried munitions include two CS grenades: the M7A3 and the M47, as well as a 40 mm CS cartridge that can be fired from a shotgun or the M203 rifle-mounted grenade launcher.
The decision to use OC by the Marine Corps military police in support of daily law enforcement activities is left to the discretion of the local provost marshal. There is no central authorization for the use of pepper spray and no central acquisition process. Table B-3 summarizes the munitions currently used for riot control by the U.S. Marine Corps.
Table B-3 U.S. Marine Corps Riot Control Agents/Munitions
B.2.4 U.S. Navy
Currently, CS is the only riot control agent in the U.S. Navy inventory. Types of CS munitions include hand grenades (M47, M7A2, M7A3 and M25A2); 40-mm cartridges (M651 and M674); or the M33A1 dispenser (Ref. 41).
The U.S. Navy has issued no central authorization for the use of OC by the shore police, but the use of OC has not been officially prohibited (Ref. 41, 42). The decision to use OC for daily policing activities in the U.S. Navy is left to the discretion of the local base security officer or commending officer of each ship (Ref. 42). Table BE summarizes the inventory of riot control munitions in the U.S. Navy (Ref. 41).
Table B-4 U.S. Navy Riot Control Agents/Munitions
APPENDIX D. REFERENCES
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