Science, Tech, Math › Science What Are the Most Deadly Poisons and Chemicals? Share Flipboard Email Print Vstock LLC / Getty Images Science Chemistry Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated July 13, 2019 This is a list or table of chemicals that can kill you. Some of these poisons are common and some are rare. Some you need in order to live, while others you should avoid at all costs. Note that the values are median lethal values for an average human. Real-life toxicity depends on your size, age, gender, weight, route of exposure and many other factors. This list just offers a glimpse at a range of chemicals and their relative toxicity. Basically, all chemicals are poisonous. It just depends on the amount! List of Poisons This table is organized from least deadly to most deadly: Chemical Dose Type Target water 8 kg inorganic nervous system lead 500 g inorganic nervous system alcohol 500 g organic kidney/liver ketamine 226 g drug cardiovascular table salt 225 g inorganic nervous system ibuprofen (e.g., Advil) 30 g drug kidney/liver caffeine 15 g biological nervous system paracetamol (e.g., Tylenol) 12 g drug kidney/liver aspirin 11 g drug kidney/liver amphetamine 9 g drug nervous system nicotine 3.7 g biological nervous system cocaine 3 g biological cardiovascular methamphetamine 1 g drug nervous system chlorine 1 g element cardiovascular arsenic 975 mg element digestive system bee sting venom 500 mg biological nervous system cyanide 250 mg organic causes cell death aflatoxin 180 mg biological kidney/liver mamba venom 120 mg biological nervous system black widow venom 70 mg biological nervous system formaldehyde 11 mg organic causes cell death ricin (castor bean) 1.76 mg biological kills cells VX (nerve gas) 189 mcg organophosphate nervous tetrodotoxin 25 mcg biological nervous system mercury 18 mcg element nervous system botulinum (botulism) 270 ng biological nervous tetanospasmin (tetanus) 75 ng biological nervous system Poisons: Lethal vs Toxic Looking at the list of poisons, you might be tempted to think lead is safer than salt or bee sting venom is safer than cyanide. Looking at the lethal dose can be misleading because some of these chemicals are cumulative poisons (e.g., lead) and others are chemicals your body naturally detoxifies in small amounts (e.g., cyanide). Individual biochemistry is also important. While it might take half a gram of bee venom to kill the average person, a much lower dose would cause anaphylactic shock and death if you're allergic to it. Some "poisons" are actually necessary for life, such as water and salt. Other chemicals serve no known biological function and are purely toxic, such as lead and mercury. Most Common Poisons in Real Life While it's unlikely you'll be exposed to tetrodotoxin unless you eat improperly prepared fugu (a dish prepared from pufferfish), some poisons routinely cause problems. These include: Pain medicine (over the counter or prescription)Sedative and antipsychotic drugsAntidepressantsCardiovascular drugsHousehold cleaners (particularly when they are mixed)Alcohol (both grain alcohol and types not intended for human consumption)PesticidesInsect, arachnid, and reptile venomAnticonvulsantsPersonal care productsWild mushroomsFood poisoning Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "What Are the Most Deadly Poisons and Chemicals?" ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, thoughtco.com/list-of-poisons-609279. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2020, August 26). What Are the Most Deadly Poisons and Chemicals? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/list-of-poisons-609279 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "What Are the Most Deadly Poisons and Chemicals?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/list-of-poisons-609279 (accessed January 23, 2021). copy citation Watch Now: How Do Plastic's Chemicals Enter Our Bodies? 10 Deadliest Poisons Known to Man What Is the Most Poisonous Chemical Compound? 6 Poisons That Have Been Used for Murder 10 Molecules You Don't Want to Mess With The Most Toxic Elements on the Periodic Table How Does Cyanide Kill? Are Apple Seeds Poisonous? How Poisonous Are Green Potatoes? Chemicals You Should Never Mix What Is the Difference Between Venomous and Poisonous? What Makes Lead Poisonous? Toxic Elements With No Nutritional Value Dangerous Household Chemicals The 11 Most Poisonous Animals Is Mistletoe Really Poisonous? Is It Ever Safe to Drink Bleach?