Prof Mayer of Graz has absolutely destroyed the myth of nicotine's extremely high toxicity, accepted without any proper evidence for more than 100 years.
Archives of Toxicology 10.1007/s00204-013-1127-0, 4th Oct 2013
The ridiculous situation of nicotine being classified as more toxic than cyanide has persisted far too long, and is undoubtedly due to ideological pressure. That time is now over, because on 4th October 2013 a renowned toxicologist, Prof Bernd Mayer of Uo Graz, Austria, finally dispelled this long-standing myth. He investigated all aspects of the issue and concluded that the current LD50 amount (the dose expected to kill 50% of those who receive it) is at least 10 times and possibly 20 times too low.
He concluded that:
- There is overwhelming evidence that the lethal dose for nicotine in humans is 4mg/ml blood plasma
- This corresponds to a dose of 500mg to 1,000mg
- The current estimate is 10 to 20 times too low
- There is no evidence whatsoever that the currently-accepted lethal dose has ever killed anyone
- There is incontestible evidence that, in a large number of cases, ingestion of multiple times the current LD50 has been survived without issue
- The evidence that the current LD50 figure appears to be based on is at best extremely weak and appears fundamentally flawed
A new LD50 for nicotine
Prof Graz does not suggest a new LD50 (median lethal dose) for nicotine, but an estimate would appear to be 750mg (halfway between his opinion of the lethal dose minimum and maximum). This is more than 12 times the current figure of 60mg.
Therefore the figure we should use henceforth for the lethal dose of nicotine is 750mg (three-quarters of a gramme).
At last it has been shown that a normal ingredient in the diet, for which everyone has tested positive in all large scale studies to date, has no significant danger in small amounts - something fairly obvious to those who handle it on a daily basis. Some of the other toxic materials commonly consumed such as vitamin A , vitamin D, iron and caffeine (coffee) should have their LD50's compared in order to get an overall view of relative toxicity. It is no longer correct to compare nicotine with cyanide, and more accurate to relate it to other potentially toxic materials consumed in the diet daily like nicotine.
Many thanks to K Farsalinos for notification of this important new development: