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Poisons


— Environment

Food additive could find use in more efficient non-toxic antifreeze

By - March 27, 2015 1 Picture
Because of its sweet flavor and aroma, thousands of wild animals, pets and children are poisoned by drinking automotive antifreeze/coolant every year. Its particularly nasty ingredient is ethylene glycol, which affects the central nervous system, heart and kidneys to the point that it can ultimately prove lethal. Now, however, scientists from Colorado-based ACTA Technology, Inc. have replaced the ethylene glycol with another compound that's not only safe, but that also improves the performance of the antifreeze. Read More
— Science

Potentially life-saving sensor detects cyanide poisoning in just over a minute

By - March 16, 2015 2 Pictures
As any classic murder mystery or spy thriller will tell you, cyanide is a poison that acts quickly. Once exposed to it, a person can die within 30 minutes. Unfortunately for people who think they might have encountered it, the standard test for determining exposure takes 24 hours. Now, however, a scientist at South Dakota State University has developed a sensor that detects cyanide within a blood sample in just 70 seconds. Read More

DNA test identifies venomous snakes from their bites

When a snake-bite victim shows up at a hospital, it's vitally important for caregivers to know what species of snake bit them. Without that knowledge, they won't know what sort of anti-venom – if any – is required. Making that ID could one day be much easier, thanks to a current study in which species were reliably identified via snake DNA obtained from fang marks in victims' bite wounds. Read More
— Science

Cigarette ash may find use filtering arsenic from water

By - October 16, 2014 1 Picture
In a perfect world, cigarette waste simply wouldn't exist. Given that it does, though, scientists have explored a number of methods of repurposing it – these have included using compounds from cigarette butts to store energy, make shipping pallets, and rust-proof steel. Now, researchers have shown that cigarette ash can be used as a low-cost means of filtering arsenic from water supplies. It's a little ironic, as cigarette smoke actually contains a dangerous amount of arsenic. Read More
— Good Thinking

New child-resistant spray bottle with double-trigger mechanism

By - September 13, 2012 1 Picture
The average household contains at least a few spray bottles filled with liquids that ... well, that children shouldn’t be playing with. While most bottles now incorporate nozzles that can be “turned off,” many people don’t bother doing so, plus kids can just turn those nozzles back on themselves. The situation has led to the design of a new type of child-resistant spray bottle, that has two triggers. Read More
— Electronics

Dip Chip biosensor uses microbes to instantly detect almost any toxic substance

By - May 16, 2012 1 Picture
Once upon a time, tasters were employed by the well-to-do, in order to check that their food or drink wasn't poisonous. Today, there are electronic biosensors that can do more or less the same thing. Unfortunately, as was no doubt sometimes the case with the tasters, the biosensors can’t always give us immediate results. Additionally, they’re usually only able to test for specific substances, and not simply for “anything that’s toxic.” An experimental new device known as the Dip Chip, however, is said to address both of those problems. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Genome sequence of the world's most lethal toxin

By - May 27, 2007 1 Picture
May 28, 2007 Botulism toxin is the deadliest poison on the planet. 2kg of it is enough to kill every person on the planet - although this doesn't stop the rich and tasteless from injecting it into their faces as Botox, where it stops nerves from working and has a slight smoothing effect on wrinkles. The toxin is produced by the Clostridium Botulinum bacteria - and scientists at the UK's Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have just completed some fascinating genome research on the development of this incredibly effective killer and its survival mechanisms. Where some bacteria use complex and even elegant methods to dance around our immune systems, C. Botulinum goes for the direct hit with a "microbial sledgehammer." More please, just around the jawline. Read More
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