Use Wasp Spray to Stop an Assailant as a Criminal Deterrent-Disputed!

Use Wasp Spray to Stop an Assailant as a Criminal Deterrent-Disputed!

Summary of eRumor:

This is a forwarded self defense tip that says if you do not have pepper spray to use a can of wasp spray to stop an assailant. Wasp spray shoots a stream up to twenty feet and can temporality blind an attacker.

The Truth:

The source quoted in the eRumor for this suggestion of the use of wasp spray for defense is a man named Val Glinka. He is real and is a self defense instructor at Sylvania Southview High School near Toledo Ohio. He told an ABC affiliate that he considers wasp spray “inexpensive, easy to find, and more effective than mace or pepper spray.”  Glinka said, “This is better than anything I can teach them.”

Pepper spray is a personal defense weapon that is legal in all 50 states. Each state has various restrictions as to how it is sold and when it was originally introduced users in some states had to take a self defense class to be certified for proper use.

We have not found any other credible source that recommends using wasp spray instead of pepper spray. We have not found any studies that suggest that wasp spray would be effective as a deterrent.

There is also a liability issue to consider. There is the question of whether using insecticides in such a manner could bring liability issues for the user.    Insecticides are controlled by the Environmental  Protection Agency (EPA), which prohibits the use of such products other than the originally intended purpose.   The EPA web site has information posted that says insecticides must be properly labeled to inform users on proper use before they can be sold. The EPA site also says, “The overall intent of the label is to provide directions for product use while managing risks to human health and the environment. It is a violation of federal law to use a pesticide in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.”

Police officer J.D. Dhein hosts an internet radio feature called “Police On The Scene” and this eRumor was read to him on his program by his producer. Dhein was taken by surprise by the advice offered and voiced his concerns about liability issues of using wasp spray against an assailant.   He said that he did not believe that any police department would suggest the use of wasp spray as a criminal deterrent.  He did offer the church a valuable tip when counting the offering and that was to lock the door.

Updated 06/04/10