2927.24 Contaminating substance for human consumption or use or contamination with hazardous chemical, biological, or radioactive substance - spreading false report of contamination.

(A) As used in this section:

(1) "Poison" has the same meaning as in section 3719.01 of the Revised Code.

(2) "Drug" has the same meaning as in section 4729.01 of the Revised Code.

(3) "Hazardous chemical, biological, or radioactive substance" means any of the following:

(a) Any toxic or poisonous chemical, the precursor of any toxic or poisonous chemical, or any toxin;

(b) Any disease organism or biological agent;

(c) Any substance or item that releases or is designed to release radiation or radioactivity at a level dangerous to human life.

(4) "Biological agent" means any microorganism, virus, infectious substance, or biological product that may be engineered through biotechnology, or any naturally occurring or bioengineered component of any microorganism, virus, infectious substance, or biological product that may be engineered through biotechnology, capable of causing death, disease, or other biological malfunction in a human, an animal, a plant, or another living organism, deterioration of food, water, equipment, supplies, or material of any kind, or deleterious alteration of the environment.

(5) "Toxin" means the toxic material of plants, animals, microorganisms, viruses, fungi, or infectious substances, or a recombinant molecule, whatever its origin or method of reproduction, including, but not limited to, any poisonous substance or biological product that may be engineered through biotechnology or produced by a living organism and any poisonous isomer or biological product, homolog, or derivative of any substance or product of that nature.

(B) Except as provided in division (D) of this section, no person shall do any of the following:

(1) Knowingly mingle a poison, hazardous chemical, biological, or radioactive substance, or other harmful substance with a food, drink, nonprescription drug, prescription drug, or pharmaceutical product, or knowingly place a poison, hazardous chemical, biological, or radioactive substance, or other harmful substance in a spring, well, reservoir, or public water supply, if the person knows or has reason to know that the food, drink, nonprescription drug, prescription drug, pharmaceutical product, or water may be ingested or used by another person. For purposes of this division, a person does not know or have reason to know that water may be ingested or used by another person if it is disposed of as waste into a household drain including the drain of a toilet, sink, tub, or floor.

(2) Knowingly release into the air, knowingly leave in any public place, or knowingly expose one or more persons to any hazardous chemical, biological, or radioactive substance with the intent to cause, or create a risk of, death or serious physical harm to any person.

(C) No person shall do any of the following:

(1) Inform another person that a poison, hazardous chemical, biological, or radioactive substance, or other harmful substance has been or will be placed in a food, drink, nonprescription drug, prescription drug, or other pharmaceutical product, spring, well, reservoir, or public water supply, if the placement of the poison or substance would be a violation of division (B)(1) of this section, and the person knows both that the information is false and that the information likely will be disseminated to the public.

(2) Inform another person that a hazardous chemical, biological, or radioactive substance has been or will be released into the air or left in a public place, or that one or more persons has been or will be exposed to a hazardous chemical, biological, or radioactive substance, if the release, leaving, or exposure of the hazardous chemical, biological, or radioactive substance would be a violation of division (B)(2) of this section, and the person knows both that the information is false and that the information likely will be disseminated to the general public.

(D)

(1) A person may mingle a drug with a food or drink for the purpose of causing the drug to be ingested or used in the quantity described by its labeling or prescription.

(2) A person may place a poison or other harmful substance in a spring, well, reservoir, or public water supply in such quantity as is necessary to treat the spring, well, reservoir, or water supply to make it safe for human consumption and use.

(3) The provisions of division (B) of this section shall not be applied in a manner that conflicts with any other state or federal law or rule relating to substances permitted to be applied to or present in any food, raw or processed, any milk or milk product, any meat or meat product, any type of crop, water, or alcoholic or nonalcoholic beverage.

(E)

(1) Whoever violates division (B)(1) or (2) of this section is guilty of contaminating a substance for human consumption or use or contamination with a hazardous chemical, biological, or radioactive substance. Except as otherwise provided in this division, contaminating a substance for human consumption or use or contamination with a hazardous chemical, biological, or radioactive substance is a felony of the first degree. If the offense involved an amount of poison, the hazardous chemical, biological, or radioactive substance, or the other harmful substance sufficient to cause death if ingested or used by a person regarding a violation of division (B)(1) of this section or sufficient to cause death to persons who are exposed to it regarding a violation of division (B)(2) of this section or if the offense resulted in serious physical harm to another person, whoever violates division (B)(1) or (2) of this section shall be imprisoned for life with parole eligibility after serving fifteen years of imprisonment.

(2) Whoever violates division (C)(1) or (2) of this section is guilty of spreading a false report of contamination, a felony of the fourth degree.

(F) Divisions (C)(1) and (2) of this section do not limit or affect the application of sections 2917.31 or 2917.32 of the Revised Code. Any act that is a violation of both division (C)(1) or (2) of this section and of section 2917.31 or 2917.32 of the Revised Code may be prosecuted under this section, section 2917.31 or 2917.32 of the Revised Code, or both this section and section 2917.31 or 2917.32 of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 2927.24

History. Effective Date: 05-15-2002