Potassium Cyanide

CAS RN:151-50-8

Health Effects

0.2.1 SUMMARY OF EXPOSURE
  • 0.2.1.1 ACUTE EXPOSURE
    • A) SOURCES: Potassium cyanide, an alkaline cyanide salt compound, can be produced by combining potassium hydroxide and hydrogen cyanide (salt formation).
    • B) USES: Potassium cyanide is used to extract gold and silver from ores. It is also used in electroplating and as an insecticide, a fumigant, and a reagent in analytical chemistry. The compound is used as a benzoin condensation catalyst, a component in metal surface hardening salts, in metal cleaning, and as a raw material in the manufacture of pigments, nylon, dyes, and chelating agents.
    • C) TOXICOLOGY: Potassium cyanide produces very toxic and highly flammable hydrogen cyanide gas after it decomposes on contact with water, humidity, carbon dioxide, and acids. Systemic poisoning can occur following inhalation, dermal, and oral exposure. Cyanide is a general cellular poison resulting in impaired oxygen utilization and lactic acidosis. It interferes with oxidative phosphorylation by inhibiting cytochrome oxidase which prevents aerobic production of energy.
    • D) EPIDEMIOLOGY: Rare exposure that can result in significant morbidity and mortality.
    • E) WITH POISONING/EXPOSURE
      • 1) MILD TO MODERATE TOXICITY: Nausea, vomiting, headache, weakness, confusion, dizziness and shortness of breath.
      • 2) SEVERE TOXICITY: Coma, transient loss of consciousness with apnea ("knockdown"), hypotension, metabolic acidosis, seizures, and dysrhythmias.
0.2.20 REPRODUCTIVE HAZARDS
  • A) POTASSIUM CYANIDE: Fetotoxicity has been noted in the offspring of animals administered potassium cyanide. However, some rat studies have been negative for teratogenicity.
  • B) RELATED COMPOUNDS: Sodium cyanide, acetonitrile, acrylonitrile, propionitrile, and laetrile caused resorptions or malformations in the offspring of hamsters. Cassava was teratogenic in rats.
  • C) Subchronic dosing (12 mg of potassium cyanide injected subcutaneously for 28 doses during 6 weeks) caused degenerative changes in the testes of rats.
0.2.21 CARCINOGENICITY
  • 0.2.21.1 IARC CATEGORY
    • A) IARC Carcinogenicity Ratings for CAS151-50-8 (International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), 2016; International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2015; IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, 2010; IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, 2010a; IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, 2008; IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, 2007; IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, 2006; IARC, 2004):
      • 1) Not Listed
  • 0.2.21.2 HUMAN OVERVIEW
    • A) POTASSIUM CYANIDE: There are no reports of carcinogenicity in humans or experimental animals due to potassium cyanide itself.
    • B) RELATED COMPOUNDS: Acrylonitrile has carcinogenic properties in some species of experimental animals and has been suggested to be associated with a slight increase in deaths from lung cancer and other malignancies in humans. Whether the metabolic release of cyanide plays any role in this carcinogenesis is unknown.
0.2.22 GENOTOXICITY
  • A) Potassium cyanide has caused DNA repair E. coli, DNA inhibition in mouse lymphocytes, and mutations in mouse mammary gland cells.
Find more information on this substance at: Hazardous Substances Data Bank , TOXNET , PubMed