Top 10 worst toxic substances

5 – Tetrodotoxin

Lethal dose: aprox. 0,003 grams
Also known as “tetrodox” and frequently abbreviated as TTX, it’s a potent neurotoxin with no known antidote. The toxin can be found on some western newts and puffer fishes among other animals. It causes paralysis; many victims are unable to move. The victim, although completely paralyzed, may be conscious and in some cases completely lucid until shortly before death. Death usually occurs within 20 minutes to 8 hours.


4 – Ricin

Lethal dose: aprox. 0,0005 grams
Ricin is a protein that is extracted from the castor bean, it can be either a white powder or a liquid in crystalline form. It takes only about the size of half a grain of sand of this toxin for the lethal dose in humans if exposure is from injection or inhalation. The first episode on the use of this substance was in 1978, the Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov was stabbed in the leg in public on Waterloo Bridge, London by a man using a weapon built into an umbrella. The weapon embedded a small pellet in Markov’s leg which contained ricin. Markov was dead four days later.


3 – Mercury

Lethal dose: as low as 0,00015 grams
Extremely poisonous metal, especially the form of Dimethylmercury is extremely dangerous. Absorption of doses as low as 0.1 mL have been proven fatal. The toxin even passes through gloves made of latex, PVC, butyl, and neoprene and is absorbed through the skin. The toxicity of dimethylmercury was highlighted with the death of the inorganic chemist Karen Wetterhahn, just months after accidentally spilling a few drops of this compound on her latex-gloved hand.


2 – Batrachotoxin (poison dart frogs)

Lethal dose: aprox. 0.00012 grams
Extremely potent toxin found in certain species of frogs, namely poison dart frogs from warm regions of Central America and South America. As a neurotoxin it affects the nervous system and kills by permanently blocking nerve signal transmission to the muscles. The toxin is released through glands located on the back and behind the ears of these frogs, when they are agitated, feel threatened or are in pain, the toxin is reflexively released through several canals. Currently no effective antidote exists for the treatment of batrachotoxin poisoning.


1 – Botulinum toxin (BOTOX)

Lethal dose: aprox. 0,00000015 grams
Although extremely toxic it can be used as a medication on the treatment for spastic disorders associated with injury or disease of the central nervous system including trauma, stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or cerebral palsy. Commonly know due to its use in cosmetic surgery where it can be used to prevent formation of wrinkles by paralyzing facial muscles. These medical procedures only apply a tiny portion of the toxin since it is the most acutely toxic substance known, with a median lethal dose of about 80 nanograms when introduced intravenously and 240 nanograms when inhaled. The toxin leads to paralysis that typically starts with the muscles of the face and then spreads towards the limbs followed by the breathing muscles and causes respiratory failure. This toxin is 40 million times more potent than Cyanide.


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