What is pepper spray? (video)

WASHINGTON, May 2, 2019 — Whether it’s walking down a dark street at night or fighting off grizzly bears on the trail, pepper spray is an effective tool to fend off an attacker and get safely away. But have you ever thought about what gives this personal-defense-in-a-can its bite –– is it just weaponized hot sauce? This week on Reactions, we’re taking a look at what’s in these little canisters and why it inflicts so much pain. And for those times when you accidentally spray yourself, we’ll also give you some tips on what to do:

Youtube ID: QFPxj4CcXp0

Reactions is a video series produced by the American Chemical Society and PBS Digital Studios. Subscribe to Reactions at and follow us on Twitter @ACSReactions.

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