Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

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27

Sep

2020

Garden-variety ‘poison pen’ letters

Author: Jim Taylor

Lots of people don’t like Donald Trump. But few dislike him enough to mail him an envelope containing a powder identified as ricin. 

            Ricin, despite the sound of its name, has nothing to do with rice. It comes from castor beans. Also the source of castor oil. If your mother gave you a dose of castor oil to cure various ailments when you were a child, you may consider that quite toxic enough. 

            But castor oil itself contains no ricin. The ricin is refined from the stuff left after all the oil is squeezed out of the crushed beans. 

            And it can be deadly. 

            Experts lined up on TV to remind everyone that a single pinhead-size granule would be enough to kill you. At one time, both the U.S. and Canada considered developing ricin as a chemical weapon. It’s as deadly as sarin, the nerve gas developed by the Nazis and used in terrorist attacks in Tokyo subway system  in 1995.


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Categories: Sharp Edges

Tags: poison, ricin, Ferrier

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