Electricity can break bones

What "non-lethal weapons" do in the body

Rubber bullets, tear gas, electric shocks, pepper spray - there is a whole range of "non-lethal" weapons that are used by police forces in various countries to control crowds during demonstrations and protests.

Non-lethal weapons, sometimes referred to as less lethal weapons, were originally designed to make warfare less lethal. The opponent should either be immobilized or put to flight. The police later adopted these means as an alternative to firearms.

However, the more research is conducted into the harmful consequences of such resources, the louder the question of whether they should be reclassified. If used incorrectly, even supposedly non-lethal weapons can break bones, burn skin and cause fatal internal injuries.

Chemical irritants: tear gas and pepper spray

The term tear gas covers various eye and throat irritants that aim to drive the victims away and render them incapable of acting.

When a grenade detonates with tear gas, a cloud of the active ingredient spreads in the immediate vicinity. The chemicals in the gas are irritating to the eyes, skin and respiratory tract, causing pain all over their bodies. They cough and sneeze and make so much phlegm that they can feel like they are suffocating. The understandable reaction is to flee from the cloud.

This is exactly what the police are aiming for when they use tear gas during demonstrations and protests, explains Sven Eric Jordt. The professor of narcology, pharmacology and cancer biology works at Duke University School of Medicine.