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What is Ricin? | Mental Floss

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Damn this sounds scary:

Ricin kills cells by shutting down their ribosomal RNA, part of the molecular machine that builds their proteins. As the cells die, a ricin poisoning victim experiences different symptoms depending on how they were exposed, usually starting within 6 to 12 hours.

If the ricin was inhaled, the victim is in for difficulty breathing, chest pains, coughing, nausea, a buildup of fluid in the lungs, and respiratory failure. If the poison was ingested or injected, the victim can experience diarrhea, bloody vomit and urine, seizures, and failure of the kidneys, liver, spleen and/or heart. Death from organ failure follows within 36 to 72 hours of exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

It doesn’t take much of the stuff to wreak this kind of havoc either. The lethal dose for an adult is around 0.35 to 0.7 milligrams by inhalation (less than the mass of a single grain of sand) and between 1 and 20 mg per kilogram of body weight by ingestion (1mg/kg is about what you’d ingest if you ate a small handful of castor beans).

There’s no known antidote for ricin, so the best treatment is flushing it out of the body as quickly as possible while maintaining organ function and treating individual symptoms.

I'm pretty sure I'm never trusting an artificial sweetener again, either.

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