How Can People Be Exposed To Ricin?
- It would
take a deliberate act to make ricin and use it to poison people. Accidental
exposure to ricin is highly unlikely.
- People can
breathe in ricin mist or powder and be poisoned.
- Ricin can
also get into water or food and then be swallowed.
- Pellets of
ricin, or ricin dissolved in a liquid, can be injected into people’s bodies.
- Depending on
the route of exposure (such as injection), as little as 500 micrograms of
ricin could be enough to kill an adult. A 500-microgram dose of ricin would
be about the size of the head of a pin. A much greater amount would be
needed to kill people if the ricin were inhaled (breathed in) or swallowed.
poisoning is not contagious. It cannot be spread from person to person
through casual contact.
- In 1978,
Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian writer and journalist who was living in London,
died after he was attacked by a man with an umbrella. The umbrella had been
rigged to inject a poison ricin pellet under Markov’s skin.
- Some reports
have indicated that ricin may have been used in the Iran-Iraq war during the
1980s and that quantities of ricin were found in Al Qaeda caves in
National Terror Alert Resource & Information Center 2003