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  • I'm Anne Chappelle.

  • I'm a board-certified toxicologist, and I'm here today to answer your questions from Twitter.

  • This is "Poison Support".

  • First up, we have a question from @koobylikon.

  • Dude, what makes poison poisonous?

  • Well, a poison is a substance that can do damage to any living organism or to the environment,

  • but it's really all about the dose.

  • Low dose, less effects.

  • High dose, generally higher effects.

  • If you drank six liters of water, that probably could kill you.

  • How about 118 cups of coffee in a row, or 75 espressos?

  • That would give you an overdose of caffeine.

  • Something else that could kill you right on your table: 225 gram of salt.

  • There's a lot of things that you might not think are poisonous, but in the right dose they most definitely are.

  • @nextyounginn, WTF is sun poisoning?

  • I thought it was just called sunburn.

  • Both sun poisoning and sunburn are both caused by over exposure to UV rays.

  • A severe, so sunburn becomes sun poisoning when it moves from just that red, hot rash to blisters,

  • feeling like you have the flu, dizzy, or nauseous.

  • Sun poisoning is your body's immune reaction to all of that sun damage.

  • So what do you do if you have either of those things?

  • Make sure you drink lots and lots of water.

  • That sun damage will dehydrate you, and dehydration is the cause of a whole lot of other problems.

  • Stay out of the sun, apply cool, not icy cold, compresses on your skin.

  • Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agent as well.

  • @WalkingDad_IE.

  • So if one happened to smash a mercury thermometer and then happened to spend an hour forensically gathering tiny dots of quicksilver from the floor,

  • how would one happen to safely dispose of the evidence?

  • It is very, very important that you are careful and complete in how you actually clean up this spill.

  • Mercury can vaporize, get into the air, and you can breathe it.

  • So you wanna see if you can have your windows open.

  • Please don't touch it.

  • I know it's fun to let it play in your hand, but you can't do that anymore.

  • So wear some gloves.

  • Be very careful.

  • Use duct tape to kind of pound on the ground to clean it up.

  • You can use damp paper towels.

  • All of those thing, those cleaning supplies, everything, put into some kind of giant Ziploc-type bag,

  • and then you're gonna have to wait until you have a hazardous waste collection day and dispose of it properly.

  • Do not clean up spilled mercury with the vacuum cleaner.

  • Mercury is very, very dangerous for the environment, and it's also not great for you either.

  • From @RickNowack, what is the most poisonous mushroom?

  • It's a poisonous mushroom.

  • Does it have to have the most poisonous?

  • Well, if you really want to know, it's probably the death cap mushroom.

  • Within six to 12 hours, you are in incredible pain.

  • Nausea, vomiting, violent chills, muscle contractions, all of these nasty things.

  • And eventually, if the dose was high enough, you end up having liver failure, multiple organ failure, and death.

  • From Crimson Sexta,

  • I've been trying for so long to explain the difference between venom and poison when it comes to snakes to my friends. Help!

  • The difference really is how that poison is delivered to the person.

  • A poison is administered or you're exposed to it via breathing or touching it or ingesting it.

  • Venom, that is also a poison, but it's how you get that poison.

  • That's more of a sting or a bite. So it's more active.

  • You eat a frog, that's a poison.

  • You get bit by a copperhead snake, that's a venomous attack.

  • @WildlifeDefence asks, what is Compound 1080?

  • Compound 1080 is an extremely potent predacide.

  • Predacide is designed to kill predators.

  • So if you've got sheep and goats in your field and you've got a problem with coyotes, well, this is what you would use.

  • Because Compound 1080 is so potent, they have a special way to administer it to avoid killing broad numbers of animals in your field.

  • There's a collar that they put around the neck.

  • So it's got a collar with a reservoir of the 1080 right along the neck so that when the coyote comes along and grabs the neck,

  • it bites into that reservoir and is immediately poisoned and dies.

  • @LTHSAPES asks, what does a toxicologist study?

  • Just like there's different kinds of doctors, there's lots of different kinds of toxicologists.

  • I am an occupational toxicologist, and my job is to look at all the things that could be in a workplace.

  • Food toxicologists, for example, they work to make sure our food supply is safe.

  • I even know a toxicologist that works at a winery.

  • From @bluebellbats, Google search how to detect poison.

  • Unfortunately, to detect a poison, I'm gonna need to have a little bit more information.

  • If the lead singer is Brett Michaels, then I'm sure it is poison.

  • If it's just bad medicine, sorry, that's Bon Jovi.

  • If it's party poison, that's My Chemical Romance.

  • @katlinnrebecca asks, so is alcohol actually poison, or...

  • Anything can be a poison in the right dose, and alcohol is definitely a poison If you drink too much.

  • First of all, alcohol can impair your central nervous system so that can slow your breathing.

  • A byproduct of alcohol metabolism is the formation of acetaldehyde.

  • Acetaldehyde is a chemical that really likes to damage parts of your liver.

  • Long-term, that slow exposure over time to alcohol and its metabolites can result in cirrhosis and other kinds of liver damage,

  • eventually leading to potentially liver cancer.

  • From @lkhouvanjou75, mad hatters were mad because of the lead/mercury? Anybody know(s) why?

  • I do.

  • Hatters were mad because of the lead mercury anybody know why I do.

  • It was mercury.

  • Mercury was used to help make the different skins.

  • They used for hats, help that firm matt really well.

  • It also toughened up the fibers and was made of very high quality felt that was going to be used in the hat.

  • Part of the hat making process is that you steam the hat that releases all of that mercury into the air and then they briefed it.

  • They said that they were mad Hatters, it's because of many of the psychological symptoms that the over exposure to the mercury caused hallucinations, dizziness.

  • Tremors.

  • You think of Mad Hatter's actually is something being from victorian times.

  • But actually it wasn't until 19 forties that in the United States the governor of Connecticut banned the use of mercury in hats Appy paul asks, how long does poison take to work?

  • Some poisons can make you sick right after you ingest breathe or touch it.

  • Other poise reasons those can take a lifetime to really manifest in its adverse effects.

  • Something like cyanide.

  • You've seen them eat those poison pills in movies that definitely can kill you within a few minutes.

  • Cyanide is a very toxic chemical and it is extremely potent.

  • When you get exposed to cyanide, it quickly enters your cell and stops your cell's ability to actually make energy.

  • You see the convulsions, you have a heart attack, you have different problems within your heart and it's all because cyanide is really good about getting in your body and inside those cells where irreversibly stops all energy production.

  • Let's take another example like e.

  • Coli contaminated lettuce, you eat your sandwich, you're happy and then that bacteria produces a toxin that slowly gets released and absorbed into your gut and into the rest of your body.

  • So it takes a few days often for e.

  • Coli to really start to exert its adverse effect.

  • That's one of the reasons why food poisoning is so difficult to diagnose.

  • You have to go back to food that you ate maybe three or four days ago and I can't even remember what I had for breakfast 96 Berry asks if a poison expires will it still be poisonous or will it not actually it really depends.

  • Some drugs, some pesticides, some um chemicals that are poisons, they break down very readily when they're exposed to air moisture.

  • Some poisons are what I would consider shelf stable.

  • It doesn't matter how long that they sit around they're still going to be just as potent as the day they came out of the factory.

  • A two pathways.

  • Media asks, what are the long term effects of lead poisoning serious?

  • The problem with lead is that it is still in your bones as you age and you naturally lose bone density, lead is slowly released?

  • A young child who happens to ingest lead paint?

  • They're gonna be seen with lower I.

  • Q.

  • Potentially hearing problems and adults a lot of times the adverse effects most associated with lead exposure is high blood pressure and what happens when you have constant high blood pressure.

  • You're at higher risk for stroke and heart attack.

  • The Larson asked what is the deadliest poison?

  • Clostridium botulinum bacteria?

  • These are usually happy little microbes that live in soil when they are deprived of oxygen.

  • They produce the world's most deadliest toxin botulinum.

  • You can find botulism toxin in expired food containers, don't eat those botulism toxin causes an inhibition of the release of acetylcholine as diagrammed here.

  • So if you cannot release acetylcholine then you can't have your muscles contract then you really can't breathe and your heart won't work correctly.

  • But there's actually an upside to botulism toxin.

  • It's called Botox.

  • There are lots of people that really don't want certain muscles in their face to contract anymore.

  • They go to the doctor and they get an injection of Botox.

  • You can also use botulism toxin to treat several other kinds of conditions like migraines.

  • Certain rapid blinking diseases.

  • You can also get Botox injections to stop excessive sweating.

  • A young slave asked question, how does overdosing on pills actually work?

  • Genuinely curious.

  • An overdose doesn't necessarily mean death.

  • An overdose means that you've absolutely taken too much of that particular medicine and that could result in adverse effects that are detrimental to life and health.

  • Another way that you can overdose results from a combination may be of different drugs that you normally would take separately.

  • That when combined they all have the same intended effect.

  • And then that overwhelms your body and that can be what kills you.

  • Here's another example.

  • You build up tolerance for a certain drug for a while and then you stop taking it.

  • Your body goes back to the pre levels of how it was able to metabolize it and then all of a sudden you take another high dose thinking, hey, that's the dose I used to take and that throws you into an overdose.

  • Okay, Adele press how fast does hemlock work.

  • I'm thinking I should stockpile Brompton's cocktails in the 19 thirties.

  • A Brompton cocktail was commonly given to term me ill people.

  • It was this crazy mixture of morphine, cocaine alcohol, anti nausea agents as well as tranquilizers.

  • The goal of a Brompton cocktail was to relieve pain and to help you be awake enough so that you could talk to your friends when they came to visit you on your deathbed.

  • You also ask about hemlock hemlock is a plant that the leaves and especially the roots are very, very poisonous.

  • So you really wouldn't take a Brompton cocktail and add some hemlock to it because the Brompton cocktail was really made not to help you die, but to help you be happy and pain free when your friends came to visit Nick's blue pen y'all.

  • How poisonous is pen ink?

  • It isn't very talk according to the world health organization.

  • Ball point pens felt tip pens, fountain pens, all of them do not contain enough toxic ingredients, even if you sucked on them to cause serious adverse effects.

  • However, you might have a blue tongue question from sports pundit, anybody ever had rebound poison ivy rash?

  • No, just me.

  • Perfect.

  • This is not uncommon.

  • If you have a bad poison ivy rash.

  • Sometimes the doctor will give you an injection of steroids, help calm your immune system down so that the rash can go away.

  • If that medicine wears off before you're fully healed, then you can get what they call a rebound rash.

  • That's all the questions I could find on twitter.

  • So until next time this is an chapel with poison support.

I'm Anne Chappelle.