Archive for July 1st, 2008

Tetrodotoxin in Chicago Suburb: WTF?

So, there was a fellow in a Chicago suburb who was arrested after buying the potent toxin Tetrodotoxin online. According to the story, the fellow made the purchase of the material from a legitimate supplier, who contacted the authorities, who arrested him for “illegally possessing” the toxin. There’s just one little problem with this story…

According to Wikipedia (I know, I know), it isn’t “illegal” to own Tetradotoxin – the substance is on a “select agents list”, and you have to be registered with Health and Human Services to possess 100 milligrams or more. Yet, according to the news stories, the fellow – Edward Bachner – purchased just 95 milligrams, which is legal. Further, he appears to be a U.S. citizen, and is said to not have any previous criminal history. All of which begs the question: Is there something going on that we’re not being told about here, or is this just a fairly inept ploy to stir up fear and panic ahead of the elections?

By the way, the Wikinews article mentions Tetradotoxin’s incredible lethality – less than a milligram, for a human – which is true – if it’s injected. More mundane forms of poisoning with the toxin – like getting someone to ingest it – require rather more – close to 25mg. The point being, if you start hearing reports about this guy having “enough toxin to kill a hundred people” (or worse yet, “hundreds of people”), remember that unless Ed Bachner has some crazy laboratory skills nobody knows about, he had – at most – ordered enough toxin to kill three, maybe four, people. Worrisome, sure, but hardly super-genius evil mastermind territory…

Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', General | on July 1st, 2008 | Comments Off on Tetrodotoxin in Chicago Suburb: WTF?