Ricin is a toxin that is contained in castor beans, seed hulls, and the unrefined oil from the seed. Castor beans are processed, the oils are retrieved, and the oil is used in many industries including: biofuels, soaps, waxes, greases, lubricants, and coatings. Production of castor oil generates two main byproducts: husks and meal. The husks and meal are often used as fertilizers.
Ricin is one of the most toxic and easily produced plant toxins. Ricin poisoning can occur through several routes of exposure, including, inhalation, ingestion, and skin and eye contact.
Control and Prevention
Provides general guidance for workers and employers of workers who may be exposed to ricin. This page also offers specific guidance for protecting workers who may be at increased exposure risk, including those working as clinicians, emergency responders, and Federal, State, and Local Public Health Medical Officials.