Ricin: The Chemical and the Threat
The substance, ricin, has long history as a chemical weapon. Since at least World War I, governments have investigated its use on the battlefield. In September 1978, a Bulgarian dissident, Georgi Markov, was assassinated by a pellet of ricin shot into his leg. There also have been multiple incidents of ricin being sent through the mail. Most recently, in April 2013, envelopes containing powdered ricin were sent to President Obama and US Senator, Roger Wicker. Understanding this chemical, how it works, and how it is used can help to minimize its danger.
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- J Gibson, et al. Centers for Disease Control. Investigation of a Ricin-Containing Envelope at a Postal Facility – South Carolina, 2003. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 2003, Vol. 52, No. 46, Page 1129. Retrieved 4-25-2013 from http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/hsb/chemicals/pdfs/mmwr5246p1129.pdf.
- FBI National Press Office. 2013. FBI Response to Reports of Suspicious Letters Received at Mail Facilities. Retrieved 4-25-2013 from http://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/fbi-response-to-reports-of-suspicious-letters-received-at-mail-facilities.
- Williams P, Welker K, McClam E. NBC News. 2013. Feds Arrest Suspect in Ricin-positive Letters Sent to Obama, Senator. Retrieved 4-25-2013 from http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/04/17/17794663-feds-arrest-suspect-in-ricin-positive-letters-sent-to-obama-senator.
- The ricin structure. Carl Fürstenberg, User: AzaToth, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
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