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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    Does poison have an expiry date ?

    Wondering whether poison has an expiry date? Learn from the expert responses provided here about the use by date of a poison.

    Generally, the elders at the home and even friends advise us that we should not touch the medicines or for that matter anything which has crossed the expiry date and not fit for intake. That means it is dangerous to health to have the items which crossed the expiry date. In that case, even poison has the date on it and if that expires, will it have lesser effect on the person having it?
  • Answers

    6 Answers found.
  • TThis response is marked as DELETED by the admin.

    This is a technical question on expiry of poisonous chemicals.
    I will suggest if this question is shifted to Ask expert section it will attract many of our experts to answer it.
    Editors may consider.

    Knowledge is power.

  • Medicines, Water, the food items what they are packed are all chemicals only. They remain good to certain time and slowly they start deteriorating and after such time they were shown to be expired. The chemicals present in the items undergo chemical changes may produce new chemicals. These changes may make them more weakened in their activity or due to the new substances formed pose toxic to consumption. Similarly the poisonous nature of poisons may be weakened or become more poisonous due to formation of new substances from the previous composition of the poison. The nature of the new substance formed depends on the climate in which is stored.

  • TThis response is marked as DELETED by the admin.

    This is more of technical in nature. I also feel this can be shifted to ask experts section so that concerned persons will answer basing on their knowledge about the particular subject. This is my request to the Editors to see and do the needful.

    always confident

  • Poisons are also chemical substances. Many chemical substances will have shelf life. This shelf life of a compound depends on its chemical reactivity and thermal stability. Many chemicals when they stored properly as recommended by the manufacturer will not get decomposed or disintegrated all of a sudden. So some chemicals after their expiry date get revalidate by a prescribed method and the shelf life will be extended. This all depends on how reactive the substance is. Expiry date is dependent on Shelf life.

    Another point you should know is no chemical will go bad in a day. No chemical is good yesterday and today it can't be bad. The expiry date is just an indication of its active life period only. But the effect of the products starts coming down over a period of time.

    Now coming to Poisons. Poisons are also chemicals only. They will also have active chemical groups which will start reacting with moisture in the atmosphere and other ingredients in the air and get converted to another form. The new product formed may be a very poisonous compound or it may be an inert material. All depends on how you stored it, what is the temperature at what this material is stored and what is the chemical nature of that particular compound. So all synthetic poisons made in the lab will have a shelf life. But after that what happens is particular to each chemical. It may not give the desired effect or it may give slowly or it may not give.But the change will not come overnight.

    There are some natural poisons which are used in Ayurvedic medicines also. They don't have any expiry date.

    always confident

  • Expiry dates on medicines does not mean that after the expiry it wont work. It only means that the manufacturer claims that the product will be fine to their quality standards. It makes no claims after expiry date.
    Whereas Poison is considered it can be anything like it can more toxic or it can be less. So that it will not be as effective as the product is off. But can cause severe harm to other species. After expiry date only one chemical product may be started degrading. Poison are just chemicals that effects.

  • Some poisons in their liquid form have specific shelf life. After that liquid form some of the poison turned into gas form. And that can be bad for the shelf region or storage where it is kept. So that's one reason many chemicals are having expiry date. Few weeks before expiry date they are often dumped on ground or mixed into the water. Eventually this type of stuff does affect nature too. But to keep humans safe often such stuff is not kept in shelf after the expiry date. Depending on the liquids shelf life, the period for the usage would vary. Some insecticides stay for around 18 months while other type of poisons remain 2 years or so.

  • Expiry date is displayed to alert the user that the particular product is best effective only within that period provided it is kept under the given conditions.

    Everything undergoes change and deterioration after some time. They undergo physical and chemical changes over time. That reduces their effectiveness from what was expected. Sometimes the chemicals can undergo decomposition and even may turn harmful. So it is mandatory as well as a self protection for manufacturers to display the expiry date so that they will not be held liable for the ineffectiveness or changes happened of the medicine after the last date.
    However if the expired medicines are only for external applications, like ointments and balms, there may not be harm even if used after expiry date. At the maximum they may not be as effective as when they were new.

    Even poisons undergo changes. But who knows? the poison can be more harmful after the period also. But most items lose their potency after storage for long time. That does not mean that one should take risk and invite trouble. It is always better to be cautious and prudent and follow prescribed guidelines when using something which we are not experts about. The insecticides and other similar chemicals are poison to human beings. Eventhough they may lose their high potency after a long period, they may still retain the capacity to harm human beings and other creatures. So we must use them with caution.

  • This is a very very interesting query and as already mentioned by our fellow members I will reiterate that every chemical including the poisonous ones have expiry. So in this respect poison has no other yardstick.

    Now the another interesting thing is expiry does not mean that just on the date of expiry the chemical will lose its properties and overnight will change to an expired chemical having altogether different properties.

    After lot of research and experiments the expiry dates are fixed for a chemical whether it is a household chemical or potential drug. A margin is also given in fixing the date.

    Now the chemicals will start degrading after this date or more correctly after some time of the expiry date and this sometime is different for different chemicals and is unknown to a common person. So as a precaution one should never consume anything after the expiry date.

    Now as we deduced above that chemicals will start degrading after the said stage there comes another aspect and that is the speed of degradation - some chemicals will degrade fast while others will have a slow chemistry of change and on that will depend the overall action of the chemical. Mathematically speaking it will be the effect of residual old chemical plus the new chemical in forming through decomposition or atmospheric oxidation of old chemical.

    Not going in the chemistry of the process the point is that the final expired product can be harmless or much more dangerous and poisonous than the original one.

    So there is no guarantee after the expiry date.

    For the amusement of the members I am giving a small part in my language from a real story of world war-I :

    He swallowed a cyanide capsule and jumped into the River to die. The cyanide pill was long back expired and made him only sick. He did not die. Unfortunately river had hardly knee deep water. So he was soon captured by the following troupes.

    This story is said to be real but please do not take its authenticity about the effectiveness of cyanide pill as we do not know how old back it had expired. Today every doctor and medical fraternity advises us not to take any drug or chemical after the expiry date and we must follow it religiously.

    Knowledge is power.

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