Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What is ricin and why does it kill?

US authorities today confirmed that the poison ricin was found in envelopes sent to President Obama and Roger Wicker, a senator from the state of Mississippi.  But what is ricin?
"Ricin is a natural, highly toxic compound that is one of the byproducts of processing castor beans.

If inhaled, injected or ingested, less than a pinpoint of ricin can kill a person within 36 to 48 hours due to the failure of the respiratory and circulatory systems. There is no known cure.
One molecule of ricin will kill a cell it enters," writes CNN.
The Centre for Desease Control (CDC) says "ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans."  CDC explains that "if castor beans are chewed and swallowed, the released ricin can cause injury."

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