Thallium poisoning may sound like something fake created just for a soap opera, it’s very real! The method used to poison Rey on THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS was once a very effective way to murder someone and known as “The Poisoner’s Poison” because thallium is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, and its symptoms are difficult to diagnose correctly. Thankfully, there is now an antidote!
Thallium is a heavy metal, and thallium sulfate was once used as a rat poison and ant killer in the United States until it was discontinued in the mid-‘70s due to safety concerns. The poison can be inhaled from contaminated dust or absorbed through the skin, but it is most often ingested. A lethal dose is around 15-20 mg per kg body weight, but serious toxicity and death can occur with less. Symptoms include nausea, shortness of breath, anxiety, confusion, and delirium as well as peripheral nerve damage that causes pain in the palms and soles. Lower doses of thallium can cause hair loss, but with higher doses, death comes before it can happen.
Because the symptoms are so wide-ranging, it can be difficult to diagnose, although both Nate and Elena both came to the same conclusion upon learning that Rey had suffered from pain in his feet and legs. Nate immediately ordered an antidote for his patient, and Prussian blue is the most effective treatment for thallium poisoning. It is a blue powder that when ingested, can help remove the thallium from a person’s system, but is not always widely available.
Thankfully, Nate was able to arrange for an antidote to be sent to Genoa City so that Rey could be treated and the effects of the thallium poisoning reversed. Although in some cases, even after surviving thallium poisoning, the victim could continue to suffer residual neurological or visual disability. So stay tuned to Y&R to see if Rey can recover fully — and also to find out who poisoned him in the first place!