In the mind of Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, the pepper spray administered to University of California-Davis students last weekend really just a one-sided food fight.
Kelly gave her causal assessment of the increasingly common police weapon on Tuesday’s broadcast of The O’Reilly Factor, seemingly defending the cops.
“It’s a derivative of actual pepper, it’s a food product, essentially,” she told host Bill O’Reilly. “A lot of experts are looking at saying is that the real deal. Has it been diluted?”
O’Reilly, thinking that the product used on the students wasn’t too severe, said, “They should have had more of a reaction.”
It’s not clear if Kelly or O’Reilly bothered to do any research on pepper spray before making the claims, which seem to contradict reality.
As Scientific American‘s Deborah Blum notes, commercial grade pepper-spray is immensely more painful than the most powerful natural pepper, the ghost chili. People who’ve eaten ghost chili compared it to “a cocktail of battery acid and glass shards,” and has since been turned into a weapon by the Chilean military.
On the Scoville Scale, a system used to measure the spiciness of peppers, the burning sensation caused by police pepper spray is twice that of the ghost chili.
In fact, the real name for pepper spray is actually Oleoresin Casperin, which contains more than just “food products.” Liquid carriers such as water and alcohols, as well as propellants such as nitrogen and carbon dioxide, are among the things found in most pepper sprays.
According to a Duke University and University of North Carolina research paper “Heath Hazards of Pepper Spray,” inhalation of high doses of pepper spray can produce adverse cardiac, respiratory, and neurological effects, including arrhythmia and sudden death.
Despite all of those factors, Kelly believed that the campus police won’t face any major charges.
“From a legal standpoint, I don’t know if the cops did anything wrong,” she said.
WATCH: Video from Fox News, which was broadcast on November 21, 2011.