Please corrrect me if I am wrong, but in way, isn't every single substance in existence a form of poison ?

In wikipedia, poison is defined as, "substances that can cause damage, illness, or death to organisms, usually by chemical reaction or other activity on the molecular scale, when a sufficient quantity is absorbed by an organism."

And when we ingest any substance in excess, it can cause damage, illness or death. Even something as harmless as pure water can cause a harmful condition known as water poisoning when drunk in excess. In the same way, every single substance found on this planet is poison to mankind isn't it ?

Its just a matter of quantity and how much of any substance our body can tolerate befoe it becomes susceptible to the harmful effects.

Far less amounts of cyanide is required to poison someone than water but that does not make water any less dangerous than cyanide when taken in big enough volumes right ?

This is just my theory based on my limited knowledge so please do correct any faults that may appear in my reasoning.

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    It depends on whether you see a difference between a "poison" and "poisoning" or "intoxication". A poison is a substance that is bound to harms us, so water in that sense is not a poison. Poisoning, on the other hand, is when any substance harms us when in sufficient quantities. In that sense water can poison us.

    In a nutshell, we can be poisoned or intoxicated by all substances, but not all substances are poisons or toxins.

  • 1 decade ago

    Yes you're absolutely correct. Although technically, for the definition of 'poison' there should really be an extra statement along the lines of: 'something you wouldn't normally expose yourself to'.

    But ya, all the vitamins and 'minerals' that are touted as being good for you, are only good if you don't overdose.

    That being said, there are some chemicals which are so benign (or at least the body gets rid of them so quickly) that it would be extremely difficult to overdose on them. The first one that comes to mind is vitamin C, especially if you're sick.

  • 1 decade ago

    You are dead on. This is not only correct, but it is a fundamental principle in toxicology.

    Sometimes called the father of toxicology, Paracelsus (1493-1541) stated:

    (German) Alle Ding sind Gift, und nichts ohn Gift; allein die Dosis macht, daß ein Ding kein Gift ist.

    "All things are poison and nothing is without poison, only the dose permits something not to be poisonous."

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Yes its very true. A woman in Cali drank to much water to win an Wii. Ultimately she drank to much water and died.

    Its funny to think the very same item that we need to survive..Killed her.

    Even adminatratiog to much oxygen can cause toxicity and even death. Oxygen toxicity can result in cell damage and death. Excess oxygen in body tissues is known as hyperoxia. The condition is also known as the Paul Bert effect or the Lorrain Smith effect.

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  • 1 decade ago

    For that matter, every metabolic reaction brings us closer to death. So even food is poison, if you're going to be that loose with the term.

    Life is a terminal disease.

  • 1 decade ago

    You are absolutely correct!

    I could explain the chemotherapy treatment process or

    give examples of high levels of vitamin and nutrients but

    the water example listed is possibly the best ever.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I find no flaw in your statement.

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