US Fears 'Botox Terrorism'

Super Lethal Ingredient Already Sought by Al Qaeda
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 25, 2010 2:38 AM CST

(Newser) – A super deadly poison in Botox could become a fearsome new terrorism weapon, US officials fear. A speck of pure botulinum toxin—the key ingredient in Botox—can kill an adult. Al Qaeda has already sought to obtain the pure toxin, and officials fear the rising black market in the beauty product is making the toxin accessible to terrorist groups. Fears of a terrorism link first surfaced when a mysterious trader in Russia hawked supplies of a Botox-like concoction that he said was created in Chechnya.

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"It is the only profit-making venture for terrorists that can also potentially yield a weapon of mass destruction," biodefense expert Dr. Kenneth Coleman told the Washington Post. He and another researcher discovered as part of a project last year that a biologist with a master's degree and $2,000 worth of equipment could make a gram of pure toxin, enough to kill thousands of people. (Read more Botox stories.)

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