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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 periodicals archive ?
A DISTRAUGHT animal lover has appealed for help to track down a poisoner who killed her two beloved cats.
Another chunk of medieval skulduggery finds faithful servant Chaloner on the trail of a poisoner who's striking at the heart of the court.
Her hair was in a plaited crown like portraits of poisoner Lucrezia Borgia.
l Squeaky-clean actress Brooke Shields, wife of Andre Agassi, is descended from infamous poisoner Lucrezia Borgia, known to have had sexual relations with her father and brothers.
A CHILD poisoner was yesterday found guilty of force feeding a young girl potentially fatal doses of salt.
But as the body count rises to epidemic proportions, the law finally catches up with the Victorian poisoner.
But they were quick to rule out fears of a serial poisoner on the loose in Tralee, Co Kerry, saying several of the dogs had eaten weedkiller.
Trailers for Dark Angel show Downton Abbey favourite Joanne Froggatt in the role of the infamous Durham poisoner.
The pair had gone down to the beach to watch the final day of shooting for Dark Angel, a drama based on the life of Victorian poisoner Mary Ann Cotton.
A SERIAL cat poisoner is terrorising a neighbourhood, killing 44 beloved pets in the past two years.
Now a new spotlight is being shone on the callous crimes of Dr William Palmer - who became known as the Rugeley Poisoner or the Prince of Poisoners.