Because of its significantly greater toxicity, it has largely been supplanted by CS gas. Even though CN is still supplied to paramilitary and police forces in a small pressurized aerosol known as “Mace” or tear gas, its use is falling as pepper spray both works and disperses more quickly than CN.
The term "Mace" came into being because it was the brand-name invented by one of the first American manufacturers of CN aerosol sprays. Subsequently, Mace became synonymous with tear-gas sprays in the same way that Kleenex has become strongly associated with tissue papers (a phenomenon known as a genericized trademark).
Like CS gas, this compound irritates the mucous membranes (oral, nasal, conjunctival and tracheobronchial). Sometimes it can give rise to more generalized reactions such as syncope, temporary loss of balance and orientation. More rarely, cutaneous irritating outbreaks have been observed and allergic contact permanent dermatitis.
^ abBallantyne, B.; Swanston, D. W. (1978). "The comparative acute mammalian toxicity of 1-chloroacetophenone (CN) and 2-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile (CS)". Archives of Toxicology40 (2): 75–95. doi:10.1007/BF01891962. PMID350195.