Understanding Fast Poisons Essays
Toxic chemicals are all around us. Some of the fastest acting toxic chemicals, though not necessarily deadly, are literally in our houses and backyards. Castor bean, daffodil and jonquil, lily-of-the-valley, foxglove, yew, holly and other cultivated plants can be found in many gardens. Poison ivy and pokeweed can be found along roadsides, fencelines, and in fields. Dumbcane, Euphorbia (crown of thorns, pointsettia), jade, wandering Jew and other plants also can be found in many homes. All of these plants and many more are toxic because of the chemicals they contain, yet we live with them safely. In many cases, scientists don't even know what the particular chemical is that is toxic.
Plants are not the only …show more content…
The natural world is, as everyone knows, not the only source of toxic chemicals. In fact, people worry more about synthetic chemicals than natural ones. Organophosphorous insecticides are typical of the fast-acting synthetic chemicals. They affect the nervous system and some members of this chemical family are so toxic that they cannot even be used in insecticides because they would harm the users.
One common chemical of concern to the public is dioxin, a byproduct of industrial processes. This chemical happens to be extremely toxic to female guinea pigs--it takes only a dose of 0.0006 mg/kg b.w. to cause death--while it takes a dose about 5,000 times greater to kill a hamster. Fortunately, humans are more resistant to dioxin.
In addition to dioxin, one notable example of extreme toxicity of manufactured chemicals is