Saturday, May 24, 2008
Queens man croaks after taking toad venom
At $10 a small block, Stone is popular in the West Indies and China.
Typically sold as a chunk less than a square inch in size and in a clear plastic bag with official-looking instructions, it contains chemicals that can disrupt the heart rhythms.
HORNY TOAD ALARM
The Queens victim, who has not been identified, developed an abnormal heartbeat after eating the substance and was admitted to a hospital complaining of chest pain, officials said. Other symptoms may include vomiting and abdominal pain, they added.
The Food and Drug Administration has banned the product, but shipments from overseas suppliers regularly make their way into the city.
Stone contains several chemicals known as bufadienolides, which are secreted by cane toads as a defense mechanism, officials said.
The material, which can also be applied to the skin, goes by several other names, including Love Stone, Jamaican Stone, Black Stone and Chinese Rock.
A similar substance killed at least four people in New York in the 1990s. The city cracked down on abusers after the outbreak and has tried to wipe out its sale ever since.