How deadly is the poison ricin?
How deadly is the poison ricin?
Inhaled ricin causes fever, chest tightness, cough and severe respiratory problems, including fluid buildup in the lungs (pulmonary edema). Ingested ricin causes intestinal bleeding and organ damage. The poison can kill within three days of exposure. Even a small amount of ricin may be fatal.
Is ricin plant illegal?
Growing the plant as an ornamental or a crop is not illegal, but extracting and concentrating ricin from it is, as you would in effect be making a potent biological weapon (obviously, I do not recommend that, either). Please read on for a full explanation.
How long does ricin stay in the body?
This process takes at least 24 hours but usually several days. However, the spore can stay in the body for weeks before becoming active and causing illness, which is why antibiotics to prevent anthrax are given for a long period (60 days) after a person has been exposed.
How do you detect ricin?
There are no specific clinically validated assays for detection of ricin that can be performed by the hospital/healthcare facility clinical laboratory. No methods are available for the detection of ricin in biologic fluids. Tests for ricinine, an alkaloidal component of the castor bean plant have been developed.
Is it legal to buy castor beans?
General Law There are no federal regulations restricting the possession of castor bean plants. According to a 2004 Congressional Research Service Report, castor bean plants and seeds are “openly sold” in the United States. There are, however, some states or cities (such as Hayward, Calif.)
How do you identify ricin?
Numerous methods are currently used to identify ricin toxin. Usually, an antigen-specific assay for screening samples is used, and then presumptive positive samples are re-screened with a confirmatory test. When multiple toxins are suspected, many initial screenings of the samples have to be performed.
How is ricin used as a weapon?
The substance can be made into a powder, mist, or pellet as a biological agent for warfare, exposing people through food, water, or air. The United States looked at using ricin as a weapon in World War I, either using it to coat bullets, or creating a dust cloud of the toxin that would be inhaled by the enemy.
Is ricin easily detectable?
Scientists have developed a simple, accurate, and highly sensitive test to detect and quantify ricin, an extremely potent toxin with potential use as a bioterrorism agent.
Can you taste ricin?
But using ricin to poison a large number of people would be difficult, experts say. Because it has a bitter taste and produces a burning sensation in the mouth, potential victims would be unlikely to consume much poisoned food, Bean said.
How long does ricin stay in your body?
Where does ricin come from that causes injury?
Ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans. If castor beans are chewed and swallowed, the released ricin can cause injury. Ricin can be made from the waste material left over from processing castor beans. It can be in the form of a powder, a mist, or a pellet, or it can be dissolved in water or weak acid.
What to do when ricin is released in a building?
Get fresh air right away by leaving the area where the ricin was released. If the ricin release was outside, move away from the area where the ricin was released. If the ricin release was indoors, get out of the building.
Where does the ricin in castor beans come from?
What ricin is. Ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans. If castor beans are chewed and swallowed, the released ricin can cause injury. Ricin can be made from the waste material left over from processing castor beans. It can be in the form of a powder, a mist, or a pellet, or it can be dissolved in water or weak acid.
How big of a dose of ricin can kill an adult?
Ricin (/ˈraɪsɪn/ RY-sin), a lectin (a carbohydrate-binding protein) produced in the seeds of the castor oil plant, Ricinus communis, is a highly potent toxin. A dose of purified ricin powder the size of a few grains of table salt can kill an adult human.