The Gympie Gympie plant (link in comment) can cause pain that lasts years. How does it do this, wouldn't toxins be flushed from your system by then ?

There are many common molecular substances you're already familiar with which contain no carbon.

Salt, for example (NaCl) contains only sodium and chlorine. (Technically, most salt that you'd eat also has some impurities, many of which might contain carbon, but salt itself is inorganic, and it's entirely possible that salt you eat has no carbon impurities.)

Water (H2O) contains only hydrogen and oxygen. And again, water you drink may contain other things, but water itself is inorganic.

The air you breathe is mostly a combination of inorganic gases -- molecular nitrogen, molecular oxygen, argon -- with trace amounts of carbon dioxide (which is considered inorganic despite containing carbon), neon, helium, and methane, plus some portion of water vapour. Though any given breath you take probably includes some organic material, the main molecular composition of air is inorganic.

Most of what you consume, however, will be organic, because your body can requires organic materials for food. But your food will often contain large amounts of inorganic molecular compounds such as salt and water.

You might be trying to understand exactly what makes one compound containing carbon 'inorganic' while most others are, and it may comfort you to know that the reason is historic rather than strictly scientific, and that not all chemists agree on which should be so excluded.

Unless you're a chemist or talking to one, you can be pretty solid in assuming that anything containing carbon is organic.

The reason the distinction between organic and inorganic is important is that so far as we've seen on our own planet, all life relies on organic compounds. That doesn't mean that everything living things use or produce is organic, however. Merely that vital body tissues and life functions consist mostly of organic compounds, and we don't have any special reason to assume that life would exist anywhere without them. This is why it was so exciting to find organic compounds on Mars. We assume that anything that ever lived there would have to have organic compounds to exist in the first place, and would also leave them behind. Their existence there doesn't prove that, but it does improve the odds of eventually proving it.

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