Thread: Ricin....

  1. #1
    E40FDNYL35's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1999

    Default Ricin....

    WASHINGTON (Feb. 3) -- A white powder found in Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's office tested Tuesday as an ''active'' form of the deadly poison ricin, forcing cancellation of most Senate business in the second such scare from a lethal toxin to hit the capital...

    Ricin --The seeds from the castor bean plant, Ricinus communis, are poisonous to people, animals and insects. One of the main toxic proteins is "ricin", named by Stillmark in 1888 when he tested the beans' extract on red blood cells and saw them agglutinate. Now we know that the agglutination was due to another toxin that was also present, called RCA (Ricinus communis agglutinin). Ricin is a potent cytotoxin but a weak hemagglutinin, whereas RCA is a weak cytotoxin and a powerful hemagglutinin.

    Poisoning by ingestion of the castor bean is due to ricin, not RCA, because RCA does not penetrate the intestinal wall, and does not affect red blood cells unless given intravenously. If RCA is injected into the blood, it will cause the red blood cells to agglutinate and burst by hemolysis.

    Perhaps just one milligram of ricin can kill an adult.

    The symptoms of human poisoning begin within a few hours of ingestion.

    The symptoms are:

    abdominal pain
    diarrhea, sometimes bloody.
    Within several days there is:

    severe dehydration,
    a decrease in urine,
    and a decrease in blood pressure.
    If death has not occurred in 3-5 days, the victim usually recovers. It is advisable to keep children away from the castor bean plant or necklaces made with its seeds. In fact donít even have them in or around a house with small children. If they ingest the leaves or swallow the seeds, they may get poisoned. The highly toxic seeds beaded into necklaces, cause skin irritation at the contact point.

    If the seed is swallowed without chewing, and there is no damage to the seed coat, it will most likely pass harmlessly through the digestive tract. However, if it is chewed or broken and then swallowed, the ricin toxin will be absorbed by the intestines.

    It is said that just one seed can kill a child. Children are more sensitive than adults to fluid loss due to vomiting and diarrhea, and can quickly become severely dehydrated and die.

    Castor bean plants in a garden should not be allowed to flower and seed.
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  2. #2
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    EFD840's Avatar
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    Jun 2000
    Eclectic (no, NOT electric), Alabama


    The highly toxic seeds beaded into necklaces, cause skin irritation at the contact point
    Somebody tell me they're kidding, right?!?

    People actually make necklaces out of this plant?
    Last edited by EFD840; 02-03-2004 at 05:49 PM.

  3. #3
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    firefighter26's Avatar
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    Jan 2001
    Sooke, B.C.


    I was watching the news out of Seattle Washington last night (there wasn't much mentioned on it on the BC news), and one thing that really struck me was when they were talking about treatement, from an emergency point of view...

    I don't remember the quote exactly, but it basically boiled down to comfort them the best you can, there isn't anything anyone can do.

    What actually caught my attention was that the government official that was giving the interview didn't try to dress is up in nice-ness like politicians usually do......

    Sounds like pretty nasty stuff....
    "No one ever called the Fire Department for doing something smart..."

  4. #4
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    E229Lt's Avatar
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    May 2000


    People actually make necklaces out of this plant?
    Worse than that, look what grandma did:

    The greenish extract of a large tropical plant, castor oil has been used for many years to ease constipation and induce vomiting. Basically, it's WD40 for the gastro-intestinal tract.

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