General Overview: With no known antidote, ricin is one of
the deadliest toxins known to man. Acting extremely rapid,
ricin can kill in the first 36 to 72 hours after being exposed.
As such, it is an extremely vital agent to be able to test for
The ricin toxin is extracted from
the common castor bean. It is very easy to make and
inexpensive. In addition, it is also very stable, making
it an attractive bioterrorism agent since it can be effective in
all types of temperatures and climates.
There are two methods of
contracting ricin: ingestion and inhalation. If ingested,
the first symptoms can arise in under 6 hours; if inhaled,
within 8 hours. Once contracted, ricin poisoning can not be
spread to anyone else through normal, casual contact.