Subject LD50  Ratings
(toxicology ratings of everyday products)

Toxicology is defined as the science of poisons; their effect on the body, various antidotes for their action, and their detection in body fluids and tissues. The science of toxicology has been known of for hundreds of years. . . we have only recently done a better job of measuring toxicity on an apples-to-apples basis from one chemical or product to the next. Most of us understand that when the doctor gives us a prescription the difference between a therapeutic dose and a toxic one is only a matter of quantity. The quantity of ingestion is therefore a primary unit by which the toxicity of a product is measured. All products can be toxic if consumed in large enough quantities and/or with sufficient exposure.

What may be a toxic dose for an individual weighing 110 pounds may not be for an individual weighing 200 pounds. The message here is that fat can be safer... it’s a great excuse for not losing weight and I think I’ll start using it. The real point is that quantity is not absolute for all individuals. Therefore, quantity with respect to body weight is critical in comparing the toxicity of different products on an apples-to-apples basis.

The quantity with respect to body weight that can create a lethal dose can be determined on almost anything. These tests are conducted on a variety of animals. Usually rats are used and the units used to express oral toxicity are identified as milligrams per kilogram of body weight (mg/kg body wt.)This measurement is known as an oral LD rating. The LD rating for any given product is the amount of that product needed to kill fifty percent of a laboratory population of rats. With these ratings we have a means to fairly evaluate toxicity risk from one product to the next.

It is interesting that when the toxicity ratings of various products are compared how quickly our perspective and understanding change. Toxicity is generally misunderstood so it helps to demonstrate how toxic sodium polyborate is when compared to other products we are already familiar with. The following list should help you and others better put toxicity in perspective. Keep in mind that the higher the LD5(rating the safer a product is because it would take a higher quantity per pound of body weight. Additionally, one kilogram is equivalent to 2.2 pounds.

Product or Chemical 

Arsenic 

Lysergic Acid (LSD)

Aflatoxin

Red pigment for paint & ink

Iodine

Kerosene

Nicotine

Sodium nitrate (preservative)

Chiorodane (termiticide)

Demerol (drug)

Caffeine

Pyrethrin

Window cleaner (aq. ammonia)

Codeine (drug)

Valium (drug)

Borax (laundry detergent)

Ammonium sulfate (a general purpose food additive)

Table salt

Rx FOR FLEAS® PLUS (sodium polyborate) 

Caraway Oil

Baking soda 

Glycerine (used in soaps and various food products)

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) 

Glucose (sugar)
Oral LD50 (rat) Rating (mg/kg body wt.)

Less than 1

Less than 1

5

10

14

28

50

85

100

162

192

200

350

600

710

2,660

3,000


3,000

3,479


3,500

4,220

12,600


17,000

28,800

Other factors that can effect the toxicity of any given product to an individual are age, sex, genetic differences, body temperature, nutritional status and pathological status. The laboratory procedures for establishing the toxicity ratings of products are designed in such a way to control these “other factors” that can cause variability in results. Therefore the above identified comparison represents an accurate comparison.