February 26, 2006

Update On UT Ricin Scare: FBI Says Tests Are Negative
— Ace

Scan down for the last update.

This has happened before. Ricin is derived from castor beans, and some tests to determine the presence of ricin merely indicate the presence of castor beans or its non-toxic derivatives.

I posted a while ago about a big ricin scare up in New Hampshire that just turned out to be castor beans, too.

Posted by: Ace at 07:05 PM | Comments (8)
Post contains 79 words, total size 1 kb.

1 Didja ever wonder if this stuff actually is Ricin, and terrorism, and the whole "whoops it was just castor beans after all" thing is a story to keep us from losing it at the thought of terror closer to home?

I'm sure some of you have. It just seems like every time something scary happens within our borders, if it can be attributed to something innocent/stupid/whatever, it is.

Posted by: Zorachus at February 27, 2006 03:01 AM (yJ5ul)

2 Personally, my money is on the powder actually being laundry detergent, which would have been considered a foreign substance in most of the dorm rooms that I have been in.

Posted by: ts at February 27, 2006 04:23 AM (xBr+X)

3 Well, duh. I've lost count of the number of times I've given my rolls of quarters a jolly good rubbing down with castor beans.

Posted by: Botec at February 27, 2006 04:38 AM (FRPwD)

4 RICIN was used to assainate a russian or turkish defector back a few years ago

Posted by: spurwing plover at February 27, 2006 04:42 AM (AlCYT)

5 I'll keep paying attention. I certainly hope it was Tide Mountain Fresh

Posted by: Dave in Texas at February 27, 2006 06:06 AM (pzen5)

6 The truth is the the field tests run on suspected Ricin really don't test specifically for Ricin at all.

For example, one field test simply tests for the presence of protein in the sample. Any protein! So, for example, whole grain flour will test positive.

Q. How does the kit work?
A. The kit measures the presence or absence of protein in a sample. Protein is found in all living materials including biohazardous bacteria and in any toxins. The presence of protein (shown by a change to a purple color in the Protein Solution) indicates the possibility that a biological agent may be present: all biological materials and many toxins contain protein.

Q. Has the product been field tested?
A. The BioCheck Kit was extensively field tested. It was used more than 50 times in response to actual 911 calls. In more than 80% of calls, the suspicious material (e.g. powdered sugar, dry wall dust) could be ruled out immediately as a possible bioterror agent. Common safe substances that would give a positive result with the product (such as whole wheat flour and yeast) rarely caused citizens to call 911. The above was from this PDF document at Laurus Systems.

Another test says its results will be inaccurate in the presence of bleach.

1. There is a possibility that factors such as technical or procedural errors,as well as other substances in the samples may interfere with the test and cause erroneous results.
2. Adulterants, such as bleach in specimens, may produce erroneousresults regardless of the method of analysis. Translation of both of the above: the field tests performed on site can NEVER produce a definitive positive result. They're not designed to, and by nature will produce a high percentage of false positives. They MUST be followed up by lab analysis.

The media, who are not trained in science or laboratory procedure, will almost always misinterpret and over-report these preliminary tests.

Posted by: Mark @ a marble desk at February 27, 2006 09:55 AM (uHh8R)

7 Gary Hart boffed Donna Ricin back in the day.

Posted by: Dave in Texas at February 27, 2006 03:02 PM (FrkSZ)

8 Yes, Dave, and it was said that when Donna was asked which candidate she preferred, she replied:

"Well, in my heart, I'm, for Bush but in my bush, I'm for Hart."

Posted by: gene berman at March 01, 2006 01:35 AM (s0Fgh)

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