Cyanogen

CAS RN:460-19-5

Exposure Summary

Cyanogen's production and use as an intermediate in organic syntheses, as a rocket and missile propellant, and as a fuel gas for welding and cutting heat-resistant metals may result in its release to the environment through various waste streams. Its former use as a fumigant resulted in its direct release to the environment. If released to air, a vapor pressure of 4300 mm Hg at 25 deg C indicates cyanogen will exist solely in the gas phase in the atmosphere. Gas-phase cyanogen will be slowly degraded in the atmosphere by reaction with photochemically-produced hydroxyl radicals; the half-life for this reaction in air is estimated to be greater than 530 days. Cyanogen does not contain chromophores that absorb at wavelengths >290 nm and therefore is not expected to be susceptible to direct photolysis by sunlight. If released to soil, cyanogen is expected to have very high mobility based upon an estimated Koc of 8.3. Volatilization from moist soil surfaces is expected to be an important fate process based upon a Henry's Law constant of 3.54X10-4 atm-cu m/mole. Cyanogen will volatilize from dry soil surfaces based upon its vapor pressure. If released into water, cyanogen is not expected to adsorb to suspended solids and sediment based upon the estimated Koc. Volatilization from water surfaces is expected to be an important fate process based upon this compound's Henry's Law constant. Estimated volatilization half-lives for a model river and model lake are 2 hours and 3.4 days, respectively. An estimated BCF of 3.2 suggests the potential for bioconcentration in aquatic organisms is low. Hydrolysis under environmental conditions is expected to be an important fate process since cyanogen slowly hydrolyzes in aqueous solution. Occupational exposure to cyanogen may occur through inhalation or through dermal contact with this compound at workplaces where cyanogen is produced or used. The most likely pathway by which the general public may have been exposed to cyanogen was by inhalation due to its formation from the breakdown of nitrogen-containing additives during the combustion of gasoline. (SRC)
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