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Botox Uncovered - part 2

The dark side of Botox

Botox is the trade name for botulinum toxin, a protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. With a relatively low LD50 of 40 nanograms, botulinum toxin is one of the most powerful neurotoxins known today. That means that injecting just 40 ng of the toxin is lethal (death) in 50% of the primate population in which it was tested. To put 40 ng in perspective: a gram is roughly the mass of a paperclip. A nanogram is one billionth of a gram.
Only one single molecule of it is needed to stop one neuron working. This makes the lethal dose for a mouse only 1.2 ng - not mg! The table below shows the amount of various substances required to kill a normal human being. In fact, 1 gramme of PURE botulinum toxin would be enough to kill 14,000 people (if ingested), 1.25 million people if inhaled, or a staggering 8.3 million people if injected!

BOTOX Testing Kills Animals

Whether for therapeutic or cosmetic application, each batch of Botox must be tested before Allergan releases it to doctors and dermatologists; to determine the right potency of Botox - the key ingredient of which is botulinum toxin, the most poisonous substance known to mankind - Allergan uses the highly questionable test known as LD50 whose sole purpose is to find the dose that kills 50% of the animals used in the test.

You read that right: The end point of the LD50 test is death to 50% of the animals used. The test's full name is Lethal Dose 50 Percent.

Botox, or Botulinum Toxin Type A, comes from the waste of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, the same toxic byproduct that causes botulism food poisoning. Botox works by blocking nerve signals between the brain and muscles, effectively paralyzing the muscles that cause wrinkles and certain medical disorders. Because Botox is produced from bacteria, it is created with varying levels of potency - some batches of the drug, in other words, are stronger than others. To determine the proper strength for each vial of Botox, Allergan must test each and every batch of botox!

The LD50 Test: A Failing Grade

Little information is available publicly about the types of potency testing, if any, that the FDA requires Allergan to conduct on Botox. Repeated Freedom of Information Act requests by The HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) to the FDA yielded little pertinent information. However, given that the LD50 test is the international standard for assessing potency of botulinum toxin products, there is little doubt that the FDA holds Allergan to this standard.

Whether or not the FDA mandates the test, we do know that Allergan uses LD50 to test Botox batches. This test involves giving mice a single injection of the product into their abdominal cavity and seeing if the animal dies within 3-4 days. The mice are first assigned to one of various groups; each group will receive a different strength of the product in order to estimate the strength that kills half of the targeted group. That strength (the LD50 value) is then considered a single "unit" of Botox; from there, Allergan packages a given number of units into a vial for human use.

Approximately 100 mice have conventionally been used per test, and there are indications that each batch of botulinum toxin product is tested more than once. Allergan has claimed to The HSUS that the company has significantly reduced this number.

Of all the tests done on animals, the conventional or classical LD50 is one of the most brutal. In Botox testing, animals endure differing levels of muscular paralysis and suffer from impaired vision and dry mouth. Animals who die do so from suffocation, after their diaphragms become paralyzed, and they can no longer breathe. Those who don't die immediately may languish with varying degrees of paralysis before being euthanized at the end of the three - to four - day test.

[Information comes courtesy of the Humane Society of the United States who believe this type of testing must end. The HSUS is urging consumers who use Botox purely for cosmetic purposes to avoid the product until Allergan stop testing it on animals. There are additional calls for individuals to write to Allergan to convince the company that animals should not die in the name of beauty and to contact the US Food and Drug Administration to demand that the agency funds, researches and approves alternatives to LD50 testing.]

Unfortunately, the reality is that even the staunchest animal lover will forget their love for animals when it comes to being wrinkle-free!!

The ugly truth about Botox - an undercover investigation. (YouTube video - not for the faint hearted!)

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