Re: BIO/LAW: FDA and Olestra

From: James Rogers (
Date: Sun Feb 18 2001 - 17:54:55 MST

On Sat, 17 Feb 2001, David Sill wrote:
> Castor oil doesn't cause diarrhea because it's undigestible. It causes
> diarrhea because it contains a trace amount of ricin, a substance which in
> larger--but still quite small--amounts causes death by dehydration due to
> uncontrollable diarrhea.

Ricin is a cytotoxin (ribosome inactivator actually) and has nothing to do
with Castor oil, other than originating from the same plant. Diarrhea is
not how it kills you, though that sometimes occurs as a symptom of people
with late stage ricin poisoning. If Castor oil contained ricin even in
small quantities, you would *not* want to consume it. A lethal dose is
less than 1 milligram, and the damage is irreversible and generally
unstoppable once in the system.

-James Rogers

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