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BRIEF: Could Ricin be used by terrorists?


QUESTION:
What happens if terrorists decide Ricinus Communis is the plant of choice? Is it as bad as we can think? what is the defense? God, they could grow it in warehouses and it's legal!

ANSWER:

We have a lot of information on our plant site and our course site. This plant grows all over the place in California and other warm climates as an ornamental. This would not make much of weapon. If one eats a seed, one has a problem, and a little goes a long ways, sure. But getting enough ricin blown around to have any effect on a battlefield is just not in the cards. The military has looked at what they need to counteract this compound if it were used by others and has made a start in developing defenses, but I don't think anyone there really believes it could ever be an effective mass weapon.