Outline Circulating message claims that Cornwall's Eden Project and other outlets have issued a recall of red and black bracelets made from Jequirity beans because the beans contain a highly toxic substance.
The claims in the message are true. Eden recalled the bracelets after an Eden horticulturist discovered that they were made from Jequirity beans, which contain the potentially fatal poison abrin.
The Eden Project in Cornwall is one of 36 retailers urging customers to return the red and black bracelets made from the Jequirity bean, the deadly seed of the plant abrus precatorious. It contains the toxin abrin, a controlled substance under the Terrorism Act that if swallowed can kill in doses of just 3 micrograms. Abrin is chemically similar to ricin, a chemical warfare agent and the poison used by the Bulgarian secret police to assassinate dissident Georgi Markov with a pellet-tipped umbrella. However, it is far more toxic, and can kill in doses 75 times smaller. People who have bought the bracelets are being urged to bag them and then wash their hands and avoid touching their eyes. The Eden Project alone sold 2,800 bracelets over a year.
A message currently circulating via email and social media websites claims that the UK's Eden Project and other retail outlets have asked customers to return red and black bracelets made from Jequirity beans. According to the message, the beans contain the potentially fatal toxin abrin.
The core claims in the message are true. In December 2011, Cornwall attraction, The Eden Project, indeed recalled the red and black bracelets after a horticulturist staff member noticed what the beans were made of. The Eden Project has published information on its website about the recall, noting:
As a precautionary measure we are recalling this strung seed bracelet [pictured above] bought in our shop at the Eden Project visitor attraction.
The Eden Project has withdrawn from sale bracelets which are decorated with a potentially lethal tropical seed.
The bracelets were on sale in its shops in Cornwall for about a year.
The poisonous seeds were spotted by chance by one of its own horticulturists at the St Austell attraction.
Eden, which does not manufacture the bracelet, has issued a full product recall and has withdrawn all remaining stocks from its shelves.
Various reports also quote the following statement from the UK's Health Protection Agency:
The National Poisons Information Service (NPIS), which is commissioned by the Health Protection Agency, has been made aware that bracelets are being sold in the United Kingdom that may contain seeds from the plant Abrus precatorius.
Seeds from Abrus precatorius contain the poison abrin which is very toxic. Ingestion of any quantity of chewed, crushed or drilled (such as in a necklace) seeds should be regarded seriously because, if fully absorbed, even small amounts of abrin can be fatal.
However, seeds are not expected to cause serious problems if swallowed whole and not chewed.
There may be a delay of up to three days before symptoms e.g. vomiting, abdominal pain or diarrhoea occur. Anyone who is suspected of ingesting seeds from this plant should seek medical advice immediately.
Any person who has one of the bracelets should return it to the place of purchase as soon as possible.