OCT 17, 2016 2:58 PM PDT

5 Deadliest Poisons that Kill within Hours

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

For as long as humankind have sought for cures, we were bound to stumble upon some poisons along the way, accidentally and on purpose. Some poisons, as we discovered, are so deadly they can kill an adult human within hours. For example, tetrodoxin, the famed pufferfish toxin, can elicit mouth and speech paralysis in mere minutes. Seizures, convulsions, coma, and death follow in as little as 17 minutes or within 6 hours. Given this death risk, it's a wonder that pufferfish is a popular offering on many Japanese menus.

Other poisons are so potent they can kill with just the tiniest dose. It's estimated that a teaspoon of toxin from the bacteria Clostridium botulinum can kill more than 1 billion people. This earns the botulinum toxin as the most lethal poison known to mankind.

Watch the video to learn 3 more of the deadliest poisons, some of which may be growing in your own backyard!
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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