Letter Re: A Reminder on the Terrorist Toxins Threat


I bring this news story to your attention: Ricin Found in Las Vegas Hotel Room; Man in Hospital

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) protocols don’t give one much hope if ricin is inhaled or ingested. Unclothing and washing procedures for external contact are not reassuring. Other sources indicate that skin contact is usually not fatal unless accompanied by other agents that enhance absorption. [JWR Adds: DMSO is a well-known transdermal carrier.]

Other sources also indicate that ricin is 30 times more potent than VX nerve gas. Full MOPP suit and gas mask seem to be indicated to avoid aerosol exposure. Since the lapsed time between exposure and onset of fatal symptoms can be hours and with no existing antidote, this seems to be a particularly nasty agent to avoid.

It seems to me that for various reasons, one would be more likely to encounter ricin in a terrorist event rather than the other CBR agents that are usually mentioned. In any event, one might have to rely on the rain gear and N95 particulate mask that should be in every BOB along with the standard decontamination procedures that all should be thoroughly familiar with.

Are there field detection resources and other related items that you might recommend for an ai travel BOB which will be different from the vehicle BOB left in the airport parking lot?

I think this has been covered before but it might be timely to reiterate it again. Best Regards, – William D.