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Related to poisons: ricin, arsenic, Poisonous Plants


Any substance dangerous to living organisms that if applied internally or externally, destroy the action of vital functions or prevent the Continuance of life.

Economic poisons are those substances that are used to control insects, weeds, fungi, bacteria, rodents, predatory animals, or other pests. Economic poisons are useful to society but are still dangerous.

The way a poison is controlled depends on its potential for harm, its usefulness, and the reasons for its use. The law has a right and a duty pursuant to the Police Power of a state to control substances that can do great harm.

In the past, an individual who was harmed by a poison that had been handled in a careless manner could institute a lawsuit for damages against the person who had mishandled the chemical. As time went on, state statutes prescribed the circumstances under which someone was legally liable for injuries caused by a poison. For example, a sale to anyone under sixteen years of age was unlawful, and a seller was required to ensure that the buyer understood that the chemical was poisonous. It was not unusual for all poisons, drugs, and narcotics to be covered by the same statutory scheme.

Specialized statutes currently regulate poisons. Pesticides must be registered with the federal government, and those denied registration cannot be used. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a number of regulations governing the use of approved pesticides. Federal law also prohibits unauthorized adulteration of any product with a poisonous substance and requires clear labeling for anything sold with a poisonous ingredient. It might not be sufficient to list all the chemicals in a container or even to put the word POISON on the label. The manufacturer should also warn of the injuries that are likely to occur and the conditions under which the poison will cause harm. Stricter standards are applied to household products than to poisonous products intended to be used in a factory, on a farm, or by a specially trained person. Poisonous food products are banned. Under other federal regulations, pesticide residues on foods are prohibited above certain low tolerance levels.

Certain provisions under federal law seek to protect children from poisoning. Special packaging is required for some household products so that a child will not mistake them for food or will not be able to open containers. Federal funds are available for local programs to reduce or eliminate the danger of poisoning from lead-based paint. Under the Hazardous Substances Act (15 U.S.C.A. § 1261 et seq.), toys containing poisonous substances can be banned or subjected to recall.

See: contaminate, degenerate, infect, pervert, pollute, taint, virulent, vitiate

POISON, crim. law. Those substances which, when applied to the organs of the body, are capable of altering or destroying, in a majority of cases, some or all of the functions necessary to life, are called poisons. 3 Fodere, Traite de Med. Leg. 449; Guy, Med. Jur. 520.
     2. When administered with a felonious intent of committing, murder, if. death ensues, it is murder the most detestable, because it can of all others, be least prevented by manhood or forethought. It is a deliberate act necessarily implying malice. 1 Russ. Cr. 429. For the signs which indicate poisoning, vide 2 Beck's Med. Jurisp. ch. 16, p. 236, et seq.; Cooper's Med. Jurisp. 47; Ryan's Med. Jurisp. ch. 15, p. 202, et seq.; Traill, Med. Jur. 109.

References in classic literature ?
They haf no right to put poison in the sugarplum, and let the small ones eat it.
In one moment she was back at the table; in another, the poison was once more in her hand.
Some humour, or some fever in my blood, At other seasons temperate, or some thought That like an adder creeps from point to point, That like a madman crawls from cell to cell, Poisons my palate and makes appetite A loathing, not a longing.
It is his theory that all medicinal virtues are comprised within those substances which we term vegetable poisons.
The body had stiffened in the way rather peculiar to poisons of a certain Asiatic sort.
I would sooner, far sooner, have swallowed at one draught all the poisons that Mithridates drank in twenty years, in order to try and avoid death, than have betrayed my secret to the king.
From the interior came Indians with subtle poisons, naked bodies, and painted idols; from the sea came vengeful Spaniards and rapacious Portuguese; exposed to all these enemies (though the climate proved wonderfully kind and the earth abundant) the English dwindled away and all but disappeared.
Sorry, old man, but it's a native poison, and there are no known antidotes for native poisons.
He sold a drug, pretending that it was an antidote to all poisons, and obtained a great name for himself by long-winded puffs and advertisements.
From the facts collected by Heusinger, it appears that white sheep and pigs are differently affected from coloured individuals by certain vegetable poisons.
Bauerstein was saying yesterday that, owing to the general ignorance of the more uncommon poisons among the medical profession, there were probably countless cases of poisoning quite unsuspected.
Though her countenance did not denote much natural sweetness of temper, yet this was, perhaps, somewhat soured by a circumstance which generally poisons matrimonial felicity; for children are rightly called the pledges of love; and her husband, though they had been married nine years, had given her no such pledges; a default for which he had no excuse, either from age or health, being not yet thirty years old, and what they call a jolly brisk young man.