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Examples of sternutators include black and red pepper as well as the principle chemical susbstance in hot peppers that causes irritation and sneezing, (E)-1-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-10-methylundec-8-en-3-one, known more commonly as capsaicin.
Another example is maleic anhydride, a chemical intermediate that is also used in certain polymer formulations.
Lachrymators and sternutators are common employed by law enforcement agencies as riot control against civilian populations; curiously, the Geneva Protocols actually prohibit "asphyxiating gas, or any other kind of gas, liquids, substances or similar materials" in warfare. This strange dichotomy has recently led to calls to ban such "tear gas" agents as they can exacerbate the effects of Covid-19.
If a material is a sternutator, this should appear in Section 11 (toxicological information) of the Safety Data Sheet. Some substances may cause irritation and sneezing when inhaled. Wear appropriate personal protective equipment such as dust masks and respirators when working with sternutators, especially if engineering controls such as a fume hood are not available.
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See also: irritant, lachrymator.
Additional definitions from Google and OneLook.
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