Monday, December 26, 2011

Doofus Of The Day #557


Today's award goes to an environmental project in Cornwall, England.

An alert has gone out for the recall of thousands of beaded bracelets sold in tourist attractions after it emerged they are made from a highly toxic seed.

The Eden Project in Cornwall, which sold 2,800 in a year, is one of 36 retailers urging customers to return the red and black wrist charms.

They are made from the Jequirity bean - a deadly seed of the plant abrus precatorius which contains the toxin abrin, a controlled substance under the Terrorism Act.




It can kill if just 3 micrograms is swallowed, 75 times smaller than a fatal dose of ricin to which it is related. It is twice as toxic as the chemical warfare agent.

The symptoms of poisoning are acute gastroenteritis with vomiting, diarrhea, shock and potentially fatal kidney failure.

People who have bought the bracelets are being urged to bag them and then wash their hands and avoid touching their eyes. They are being offered refunds by the stores.

The Eden Project in St Austell was selling the bracelets, which originated from Peru, for about a year before one of the attraction's own horticulturists spotted the poisonous seeds.

. . .

Abrus precatorius has many names around the world including Jequirity, Crab's Eye, Rosary Pea, John Crow Bead, Precatory bean, Indian Licorice, Akar Saga, Giddee Giddee or Jumbie Bead.

. . .

The Jequirity bean is commonly used in jewellery in West Africa and is thought to ward off witchcraft in the Obeah religion.

Its toxin is chemically more powerful than ricin, the poison used by the Bulgarian secret police to assassinate dissident Georgi Markov with a pellet-tipped umbrella.

There are three recorded cases of Jequirity beans killing children who swallowed them in the US, and there are cases of death by finger-prick among jewellery makers who jab themselves while boring through the seeds with needles. There is no known antidote.


There's more at the link.

Way to be environmentally conscious, guys . . . poison your supporters!





Peter

4 comments:

Carteach0 said...

Think of it as evolution in action.

Anonymous said...

Here in Florida I remember using those as pea-shooter ammo. Don't recollect anybody dying from swallowing them. We called them "black-eyed peas".

trailbee said...

Now that's something to die for!

Anonymous said...

You mean it is 'two orders of magnitude' as toxic than ricin. (100 times as toxic)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosary_pea