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"...the space defense initiative drove the USSR bankrupt, and it originated at my house in Tarzana."
- Larry Niven

Contact Venom  
  A poison that is absorbed through the skin.  

Very nice phrase; you get the idea instantly.

She put her hand to the door of Nikolai's apartment and died almost instantly. An assassin had smeared the door handle with contact venom.
From Twenty Evocations, by Bruce Sterling.
Published by Interzone in 1984
Additional resources -

Of course, there are lots of nasty substances that are either absorbed by the skin or react immediately - like poison ivy.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Twenty Evocations
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  Tech news articles related to works by Bruce Sterling

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