A former U.S. border agent appeared on Fox News Monday morning to defend the use of tear gas against Central American migrants in Mexico hoping to claim asylum in the United States, saying the pepper spray is edible.
Speaking on Fox & Friends on Monday, Ronald Colburn downplayed the use of crowd-dispersing spray, saying it was simply “pepper spray” and not tear gas.
“To clarify, the type of deterrent being used is OC pepper spray. Literally, water, pepper with a small amount of alcohol for evaporation purposes,” Colburn told the program’s host Steve Doocy. He then argued that the tear-inducing agent could be consumed with food.
“You could actually put it on your nachos and eat it. It’s a good way of deterring people without long-term harm,” he said.
Newsweek noted that pepper spray is routinely classified as a type of tear gas:
According to Aftermath, a crime scene and biohazard cleanup company, both compounds have a different chemical makeup. However, both cause extreme burning of the eyes and nose and a rise in blood pressure, as well as significantly impairing vision along with other adverse effects. Furthermore, the impact of pepper spray actually lasts significantly longer than tear gas—up to an hour as opposed to just 30 minutes.