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Poisons And Poisonings

March 8, 2004 | Shari Roan, Times Staff Writer
The puffer fish is widely known as a delicacy that can kill. Valued for its bittersweet taste, the fish contains a toxin in its liver and gonads that is fatal to humans within four to six hours of consumption. One person's poison may be another's cure. Researchers are testing a derivative of the puffer fish toxin as a novel way to block pain.
March 4, 2004 | From Times Wire Reports
A grand jury found that the Kern County Fire Department, Department of Agriculture and Environmental Health Department responded appropriately to an Oct. 4 pesticide drift that sickened dozens of people and drove 100 residents from their homes.
February 6, 2004 | Elizabeth Shogren, Times Staff Writer
The Environmental Protection Agency believes that about 630,000 of the roughly 4 million babies born annually in the United States -- twice as many as previously thought -- may be exposed to dangerous levels of mercury in the womb, according to an analysis released Thursday. The primary source of newborns' exposure to mercury is the fish and shellfish their mothers eat.
February 6, 2004 | From Times Staff Reports
A faulty gas heater may have caused a Ventura family of six to become ill from carbon monoxide poisoning early Thursday, city fire officials said. Authorities were called to the family's apartment on Riverside Drive shortly before 7 a.m., where they found one adult family member unconscious and five others suffering from headaches and vomiting.
January 9, 2004 | From Times Wire Reports
The FBI offered a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to an arrest of anyone responsible for leaving a package containing the deadly poison ricin at a post office serving Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport in October. A letter inside the package said the author could make much more ricin and would "start dumping" large quantities of the poison if new federal trucking rules went into effect, according to information released by the FBI and other federal agencies.
January 4, 2004 | From Times Wire Reports
A retired couple found dead in their home this week were the victims of carbon monoxide poisoning, officials with the Shasta County coroner's office said Friday. Bob and Gayle Adams and their five pets were found by a family member Wednesday. They appeared to have been overcome by exhaust fumes from a generator used to supply electricity to their home, said John Zufall, deputy coroner for Shasta County.
October 20, 2003 | From Times Wire Reports
The families of three people who recently died and were found to have extremely high levels of cadmium in their bodies will be tested for the toxic metal, a deputy coroner said. Ten people who recently died in Indiana County tested positive in autopsies for elevated levels of cadmium, a toxic metal often used in batteries, paint and welding supplies, officials have said. It is unclear whether the deaths are related.
June 14, 2003 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
The vibrant green pigments that 19th century artist William Morris used in the wallpapers he created for the Victorian bourgeoisie may have been slowly poisoning his well-to-do customers -- and he knew it. Andy Meharg, professor of biogeochemistry at the University of Aberdeen, reported in the journal Nature that analysis of the wallpaper pigment showed "unequivocally that the coloration was caused by a copper arsenic salt." Environmental pollution caused by the pigment manufacturer is extant.
May 24, 2003 | From Times Wire Services
A Stanton woman who planned to kill herself after feeding her 5-year-old autistic son several Xanax pills pleaded guilty Friday to child endangerment and was sentenced to a year in a live-in counseling facility and five years' probation. An Orange County Superior Court judge ordered Heidi Shelton, 38, to a Costa Mesa facility, where she will get counseling and therapy, defense attorney Allan Stokke told City News Service.
January 25, 2003 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Not only do they hide in shoes and dark corners, waiting to sting the unwitting, but scorpions also pack a secret weapon, researchers reported. Certain species secrete a painful and paralyzing "pre-venom" in addition to the normal poison used to kill enemies and prey, a team at UC Davis found.
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