Tag Archives | Poison

Don’t Stop and Smell These Flowers: The Poison Garden at Alnwick

Chris (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Chris (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via All That Is Interesting [Click through to see stunning photographs]:

The beauty of vast, luxurious gardens makes for some very popular places to visit, especially when looking for a restorative escape from the modern world. But there is one garden whose popularity comes for far different reasons. At Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, England, you will find a nursery of the deadliest variety.

Alongside the typical gardens you would expect to see near an English castle is the Poison Garden of Alnwick. Established in 2005, this unusual garden houses more than one hundred infamous killers; plants that throughout history have been responsible for countless deaths and illnesses, and used by many as an instrument of murder.

Upon entering, visitors are given specific warnings to which they better take heed; no one is to touch, ingest, or even smell any of the vegetation located behind the black gate.

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Thousands of US Children Eat Laundry Pods Yearly

Credit: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Credit: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Yum?

via Live Science:

Thousands of young children in the United States have ingested laundry detergent pods in recent years, and now researchers are calling for safer packing of the colorful capsules, according to a new study.

From 2012 through 2013, U.S. poison control centers received more than 17,000 calls related tolaundry pods with children younger than age 6, the new study found.

About 80 percent of the calls (more than 13,000 cases) were for children who had ingested the pods. In other cases, some children had burst open the pods and exposed their eyes to the chemicals, while others inhaled detergent from the pods.

Most calls (two-thirds) involved children who were 1 or 2 years old, the study found. These are the ages at which children are becoming mobile and commonly place objects in their mouths, according to researchers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

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Fecal Transplants Let Packrats Eat Poison

Neotoma_cinerea_(bushy_tailed_woodrat)

Bushy tailed North American woodrat.

Eating shit could literally save your life!*

Via ScienceDaily:

Woodrats lost their ability to eat toxic creosote bushes after antibiotics killed their gut microbes. Woodrats that never ate the plants were able to do so after receiving fecal transplants with microbes from creosote-eaters, University of Utah biologists found.

The new study confirms what biologists long have suspected: bacteria in the gut — and not just liver enzymes — are “crucial in allowing herbivores to feed on toxic plants,” says biologist Kevin Kohl, a postdoctoral researcher and first author of the paper published online today in the journal Ecology Letters.

The study of woodrats, also known as packrats, raises two concerns, according to Kohl and the study’s senior author, Denise Dearing, a professor and chair of biology:

  1. Endangered species may lose diversity of their gut microbes when they are bred in captivity. When they are released to the wild, does that leave them unable to consume toxic plants that once were on their menu?
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Poison-Breathing Bacteria May Be Boon to Industry, Environment

Pic: Cir_Flickr (CC)

Pic: Cir_Flickr (CC)

Interesting that they list industry first, seeing as how economic activity depends on the environment.  Via ScienceDaily:

Buried deep in the mud along the banks of a remote salt lake near Yosemite National Park are colonies of bacteria with an unusual property: they breathe a toxic metal to survive. Researchers from the University of Georgia discovered the bacteria on a recent field expedition to Mono Lake in California, and their experiments with this unusual organism show that it may one day become a useful tool for industry and environmental protection.

The bacteria use elements that are notoriously poisonous to humans, such as antimony and arsenic, in place of oxygen, an ability that lets them survive buried in the mud of a hot spring in this unique saline soda basin.

“Just like humans breathe oxygen, these bacteria respire poisonous elements to survive,” said Chris Abin, author of a paper describing the research published recently in the journal Environmental Science & Technology and a doctoral candidate in microbiology.

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Deaths of Dozen Young Western Women in Thailand May be Work of Poisoner

Picture: Fry1989 (CC)

Wired Science Writer Deborah Blum suspects foul play in a spate of poison deaths afflicting mostly young, female, western tourists:

Thailand’s Phi Phi Islands are famous for the sun during the day and beach-side cocktail parties at night. This summer, two Canadian sisters set off for a rite-of-passage trip to the islands’ white sands. They never came back.

Noemi, 25, and Audrey, 20, Belanger were found dead in their hotel room. Their deaths were among the latest in a series of mysterious deaths in Southeast Asia. Over the past few years, nearly a dozen young travelers, mostly Western women, have inexplicably died while traveling in the region.

The deaths have caught the attention of science writer Deborah Blum, who’s written about them in Wired magazine. A poison expert, Blum tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz that a popular cocktail may hold a clue…

Read on for a tale of bucket drinks, DEET and cover-ups.… Read the rest

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Fukushima Tuna Sushi Now Being Served?

Bluefin_tunaIn 2008 the New York Times reported that

“laboratory tests found so much mercury in tuna sushi from 20 Manhattan stores and restaurants that at most of them, a regular diet of six pieces a week would exceed the levels considered acceptable by the Environmental Protection Agency.”

If you’re still eating tuna, you can also now start worrying about radiation poisoning, courtesy of the nuclear geniuses from Fukushima, Japan. Report via Reuters:

Low levels of nuclear radiation from the tsunami-damaged Fukushima power plant have turned up in bluefin tuna off the California coast, suggesting that these fish carried radioactive compounds across the Pacific Ocean faster than wind or water can.

Small amounts of cesium-137 and cesium-134 were detected in 15 tuna caught near San Diego in August 2011, about four months after these chemicals were released into the water off Japan’s east coast, scientists reported on Monday.

That is months earlier than wind and water currents brought debris from the plant to waters off Alaska and the U.S.

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Dalai Lama Claims Chinese Agents Trained Tibetan Women To Kill Him

Dalai Lama

Photo: Lucag (CC)

Reports Dean Nelson in the Telegraph:

The 76-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner, revealed he had been passed reports from inside Tibet warning that Chinese agents had trained Tibetan women for a mission to poison him while posing as devotees seeking his blessings.

The Tibetan Buddhist leader said he lives within a high security cordon in his temple palace grounds in Dharamsala, in the Himalayan foothills, on the advice of Indian security officials.

Despite being one of the world’s most widely revered spiritual leaders he has enemies in China and among some Buddhist sects.

His aides had not been able to confirm the reports, but they had highlighted his need for high security.

“We received some sort of information from Tibet,” he said. “Some Chinese agents training some Tibetans, especially women, you see, using poison – the hair poisoned, and the scarf poisoned – they were supposed to seek blessing from me, and my hand touch.”

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Chavez Suggests US May Have Caused Cancer In Political Enemies

Hugo ChavezConsidering the many bizarre attempts to poison Fidel Castro, it’s certainly not beyond the realm of possibility that the CIA would try to engender a terminal disease in Hugo Chavez and sympathizers. From Bloomberg News:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hinted that the U.S. may be behind a “very strange” bout of cancer affecting several leaders aligned with him in South America.

Chavez, speaking a day after Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, said the Central Intelligence Agency was behind chemical experiments in Guatemala in the 1940s and that it’s possible that in years to come a plot will be uncovered that shows the U.S. spread cancer as a political weapon against its critics.

“It’s very difficult to explain, even with the law of probabilities, what has been happening to some of us in Latin America,” Chavez said in a nationally televised speech to the military.

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USDA Admits To Causing Mass Bird Death With Poison

0120-DEAD-BIRDS-ARKANSAS.JPG_full_380

At least one of the mysterious mass wildlife deaths of the past month has a (bizarre) explanation. The USDA acknowledged that hundreds of birds in South Dakota were poisoned as part of a massive and longstanding government bird-killing operation, normally kept under wraps, called Bye Bye Blackbird. The Christian Science Monitor sheds some light:

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) took responsibility for hundreds of dead starlings that were found on the ground and frozen in trees in a Yankton, S.D., park on Monday.

The USDA’s Wildlife Services Program, which contracts with farmers for bird control, said it used an avicide poison called DRC-1339 to cull a roost of 5,000 birds that were defecating on a farmer’s cattle feed across the state line in Nebraska. But officials said the agency had nothing to do with large and dense recent bird kills in Arkansas and Louisiana.

Nevertheless, the USDA’s role in the South Dakota bird deaths puts a focus on a little-known government bird-control program that began in the 1960s under the name of Bye Bye Blackbird, which eventually became part of the USDA and was housed in the late ’60s at a NASA facility.

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