|Written by Brian Talamantes, CSU Extension agent|
What is “toxic?”
It is really not helpful to say whether or not a substance is “toxic,” because everything is to a certain extent. This is not meant to be scary or of any cause for concern; it’s just the truth.
Consider a cup of coffee; is coffee toxic? Well, a lethal dose of caffeine is 190 mg/kg or about 100 cups of coffee, so the answer is yes; if a 180-pound man were to drink almost eight gallons of coffee in a sitting, he would ingest enough caffeine to kill him (among other things).
By that standard, table salt is also toxic; a concentration of 3,000 mg/kg can be lethal.
Over the course of an average lifetime, we all far exceed these numbers, but because we do so over the course of years, they don’t kill us since our bodies have time to process these substances.
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