Toxic effect of hydrocyanic acid and cyanides

Toxicity Of Hydrocyanic Acid and Cyanides

Hydrocyanic acid (also known as hydrogen cyanide or HCN) and cyanides are extremely toxic substances which, when ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin, cause serious and potentially fatal poisoning. They are often referred to as “silent killers” because of the speed and stealth showcased in their destruction.

Hydrocyanic acid and cyanides can be found in many common products, such as hydraulic brakes, batteries, plastics, some dyes, production of fumigation chemicals, and the refining of gold and silver. HCN is also used to produce a variety of pharmaceuticals, as well as in some laboratories.

The most common form of poisoning from HCN and cyanides happens to those who work in industrial or agricultural settings where these chemicals are used regularly. Symptoms of HCN and cyanide poisoning begin within minutes of exposure and can be fatal.

Effects Of Hydrocyanic Acid and Cyanide Poisoning

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea, drowsiness, and confusion
  • Cardiac arrest and respiratory failure
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Unconsciousness

If someone is exposed to hydrocyanic acid or cyanides, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. A victim may experience difficulty breathing, chest tightness, low blood pressure, or even loss of consciousness. Treatment may include the use of oxygen, intubation, and medications such as sodium thiosulfate, hydroxocobalamin, and fomepizole.

In addition to the potential risks associated with occupational exposure, hydrocylcic acid and cyanides can produce hazardous environments when used for fumigation. If used outside, the chemicals can penetrate soil and water, contaminating them and affecting nearby ecosystems. Indoor fumigation can also be dangerous because of the potential of releasing these chemicals into the environment.

Adequate safety measures should be put in place to ensure that everyone working with or near hydrocyanic acid and cyanides remain safe at all times. Protective gear, such as respirators, gloves, and full-body clothing should be used, and the area should be free of combustible materials prior to the application of HCN or cyanides.