Would urushiol spray work like I imagine it would?

According to Google, “urushiol spray” is a spray you use to detect urushiol, which is such a massive example of missing the point I cannot believe my eyes.

I mean, what’s Skippy the Lab Assistant for?

In case you don’t know what urushiol is, it’s the active ingredient in poison oak, poison ivy, and any number of other blatant inducements to homemade self-defense kit manufacture.

So, I suppose I have two questions: Did I miss anyone selling urushiol spray which actually is a spray of the oil called urushiol as a kind of self-defense/schmuck-marking tactic? (Think of it as a dye pack which makes the victim a bit more penitent.) And, would it even work? Is there something I’m missing about sprayed urushiol which makes it fundamentally different from sprayed capsaicin? Apparently, you only need a nanogram to cause a rash, which shouldn’t be insurmountable. In fact, it might even be possible to make a combined spray, with both capsaicin and urushiol.

I’d imagine that breathing or swallowing urushiol would (in the long term) be several orders of magnitude more painful and damaging than breathing capsaicin. Although it probably wouldn’t be effective quickly enough to actually repel an attacker. It does take some time for the rash to develop.

“Less lethal” is the usual terminology. This might be a reason, though.

That’s why I imagined mixing it with capsaicin, for the “go away” and the “and stay away” mixture. Really, though, this is probably the main reason it doesn’t exist.

I’m not a lawyer, but it seems to me that doing something like causing someone to have an unbelievably painful and maddening rash internally would fall under the same provisions as setting booby traps in your house to injure or kill intruders. It may be disproportionate force. And it seems kind of malicious, even if used in self-defense.

Yes, there likely is a very interesting question about proportionality in this thread, as well. I didn’t really think of that when I posted it, and I might be over-quota for bizarre legal hypotheticals, anyway.

It’s definitely points on a scale: If you inhale normal, everyday pepper spray, it will burn the whole way down, too, and your lung tissue won’t be very happy with it, either. I wonder if urushiol trips any special legal categories about banned substances, though.

I don’t think the two chemicals should be regarded as being on the same continuum - capsaicin produces a burning sensation by chemical interaction with sensory neurons - it makes you hurt, but it doesn’t (normally) damage you.

Urushiol, on the other hand, causes an allergic response which normally results in physiological damage to the exposed tissues.

They’re not the same kind of thing.

As a defense spray it’s not going to be very effective because of the slow reaction. Your attacker would be able to wrest it from you, and then realizing what it is spray it into your eyes, nose, and mouth. And then if he begins to react to it himself quickly enough he’ll start kicking your coughing writhing body until he’s totally distracted from the itching.

Now a mix of pepper and poison ivy spray would be incredibly dangerous. Sprayed in the eyes of attacker he’ll be in instant pain and probably spread the stuff further with his hands. Combine that with a taser gun and you’ve got a real torture device on your hands to use on that poor guy who was running up to tell you that you dropped your wallet/purse on the ground when you got out of your car.

It takes hours for people to develop a rash after exposure to poison ivy. That sounds like it would be completely useless for self defense. As well as risking a fatal reaction in the person you attack, and/or you and innocent bystanders should the attacker wrest it from you, or should you be sloppy.

It sounds like a supremely bad idea.