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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Taser revises product warnings for law enforcement

May 05, 2008

Taser International issued revised product warnings for law enforcement in April.

August 2006: Product Warnings – Law Enforcement

(Hmmm - the August 2006 Product Warning has been removed from the internet archives. I wonder who initiated that?! It's OK - I have it on paper if anyone needs to see it.)

April 2008: Product Warnings – Law Enforcement

Here's the "scoop" from policeone.com:

Since June of 2005, there had been strong warnings about the potential for breathing impairment and other effects of repeated, prolonged TASER exposures. Those 2005 warnings were issued after medical studies involving anesthetized pigs. However, in the interim, there has been much medical research on humans that indicated that the 2005 warnings were overstated. The following is excerpted from TASER Training Bulletin 14.0-03:

These warnings are being updated to reflect new data from recent human scientific and medical studies which found, in part, the following:

• (Breathing) The available human data directly contradicts prior animal studies and does not reveal any evidence of breathing impairment or respiratory acidosis.

• (Metabolic Acidosis) While prolonged muscle activity does produce lactic acid, human studies of ECD exposures up to 15 seconds (or 3 cycles) have shown that there is no evidence of metabolic acidosis. Strong physical exertion (e.g., resisting law enforcement restraint) can lead to profound metabolic acidosis and measures to limit the period of resistance might be beneficial in already acidotic persons.

• (Rhabdomyolysis) With ECD use, it is reasonable to expect some elevation in markers of skeletal muscle injury consistent with participation in an athletic event; however, this elevation is not believed to be important in the sudden in-custody death phenomenon. Rhabdomyolysis does not cause injury for days after the inciting event and in the case of severe rises in creatine kinase, the clinical course is deteriorating renal function that can be treated with dialysis if needed.

• (Ventricular Fibrillation [VF]) The preponderance of the data, including all of the human studies, suggests that VF is not caused by ECDs in real-world usage. There is no evidence of important electrocardiogram changes, or capture (pacing response of the heart to electrical stimulation), and finite element modeling does not suggest a current density in real-world use able to induce fibrillation in humans. Also, epidemiological studies do not find that real-world human ECD use causes VF.

These new warnings remove the prior warnings regarding breathing impairment and continuous exposure risks. These warnings continue to emphasize the importance of minimizing any application of force or restraint, cuffing under power, and minimizing objectively reasonable force and restraint to accomplish lawful objectives.

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