Poisons have been inextricably linked to the destiny of the human being. Probably the three most notable periods in terms of poisonings in the history of mankind are the Greco-Roman world (with Socrates dead after drinking the cup of hemlock), the Europe of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and that of the twentieth and twenty-first.
The bloodiest era in terms of poisons refers begins in the twentieth century, as he explains Adela Muñoz in his book Poison history:
When advances in chemical analysis methods had banished arsenic as king of poisons, this element showed new and unsuspected faces: miraculous medicine to cure the terrible French evil and responsible for the most horrible accidental poisoning in history, which affects almost 50 million people
In two thirds of the total criminal poisonings tried in France at the end of the 1839sand used arsenic. In large concentrations, arsenic causes gastrointestinal disorders, seizures, coma and death. However, arsenic is frequent in its natural state and we consume it almost daily with the daily diet of meats, fish, vegetables and cereals, with fish and crustaceans being the ones with the most arsenic content.
He cyanide He was also responsible for the deaths of millions of Jews, as it was the basis of Zyklon B, used by the Nazis to gas. The cyanide was also behind the mathematician's death Alan Turing, the father of computer science. And of Rasputin, prelude to the Russian Revolution of 1919.
He thallium He had great success during the government of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Since the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, global stocks of such chemical weapons are being phased out. Among the prohibitions is VX gas, the most powerful nerve agent in the world.
Very valuable poisons
In spite of everything, some poisons, due to their scarcity and properties, are very valuable for us. As I explain in the book The element of which there is only one gram:
Or what is the most expensive liquid in the world: the poisons of animals such as snakes, tarantulas and scorpions, which are used in the synthesis of medicines. The best valued poison is that of the Brazilian coral snake, Micurus frontalis, whose value amounts to about 20,000 euros per milliliter. Make calculations of what a simple liter of this poison would cost: two million euros. So that we can compare it with another more common liquid that is also usually sold at an exorbitant price, wine, let's take a look at the broth made in commemoration of the bridal link between Felipe de Bobón and Leticia Ortiz, the current kings of Spain: a Terra Alta of 7,000 euros, that is, 9.3 euros per milliliter.