Agent + (Code)
Hydrogen Cyanide (AC)
Cyanogen Chloride (CK)
Arsine (SA)
Form at 68oF
Colorless gas or liquid Colorless gas Colorless gas
Bitter almonds Weakly like bitter almonds Mild garlic
Persistence at

15 - 30 minutes 15 - 30 minutes Less than 1 minute - 15 minutes
Persistence at
30 minutes - 1 hour 30 minutes - 1 hour 15 - 30 minutes
nset of
Very Rapid Rapid within 30 - 60 minutes, but may be delayed several hours
Symptoms of
Skin Exposure
Reddening of the eyes, flushing of the skin Irritates the eyes, even in low concentrations. Corrosive to skin, eyes, and mucous membranes.
Symptoms of
Inhaled Exposure
Confusion, drowsiness, headache, nausea, shortness of breath, drop in blood pressure, weakness, unconsciousness, collapse. Death. Irritates respiratory tract, even in low concentrations. Acute exposure produces coughing and breathing problems, which may quickly lead to a pulmonary edema. CK interferes with the body using oxygen in the body like in AC, but has stronger irritating and choking effects and slows breathing. Headache and garlicky breath, low blood pressure, generalized weakness, muscle cramping. Gastrointestinal effects include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain. Urine may be colored red or green, and the volume may be reduced. Severe exposure may result in cardiac abnormalities.
LD50 Skin Dose
100 mg/kg (liquid) Not absorbed through skin.
LCt50 Inhaled
Dose mg-min/m3
(inhalation, 0.5 min) = 2,000
(inhalation, 30 min) = 20,600
11,000 N/A
May be fatal if inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed through the skin. Severe acute arsine exposures result in sudden death.
First Aid
Inhalation: move patient to fresh air, and lay patient down; give oxygen and amyl nitrite; keep patient quiet and warm; even with inhalation poisoning, thoroughly check clothing and skin to assure no cyanide is present.
Eye Contact: flush eyes immediately with plenty of water; remove contaminated clothing; keep patient quiet and warm.
Skin Contact: wash skin promptly, remove all contaminated clothing, including shoes; don't delay; skin absorption can occur from cyanide dust, solutions, or HCN vapor; absorption is slower than inhalation, usually in minutes compared to seconds; HCN is absorbed much faster than metal cyanides from solutions such as sodium, potassium or copper cyanide solutions; even after washing the skin, watch the patient for at least 1 to 2 hours -- absorbed cyanide can continue to work into the bloodstream; wash clothing before reuse and destroy contaminated shoes.
Ingestion: give patient one pint of 1% sodium thiosulfate solution (or plain water) immediately by mouth and induce vomiting; repeat until vomit fluid is clear; never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person; give oxygen. In all instances, seek medical attention immediately.
Fresh air. Rest in half-upright position. Avoid mouth to mouth resuscitation, administer oxygen by trained personnel. Refer for medical attention. Do NOT remove clothes. Rinse skin with plenty of water or shower. Refer for medical attention. Wear protective gloves when giving first aid. First rinse with plenty of water for several minutes (remove contact lenses if easily possible), then take to a doctor. Rinse mouth. See inhalation. Do NOT induce vomiting. Move victim to fresh air. If no pulse is detected, provide CPR. If not breathing, provide artificial respiration. If breathing is labored, administer oxygen or other respiratory support. Do NOT perform direct mouth to mouth resuscitation; use a bag/mask apparatus
Remove contaminated clothing as soon as possible. For eyes , flush with lukewarm water for at least 15 minutes. Thoroughly wash exposed skin with water. In ALL cases, get medical aid

is the dose at which 50% of the exposed population will die.

A different measure, LCt50, is used for inhalation, the product of the concentration (C) and the length of exposure (t). Effective dosages for vapor are estimated for exposure durations of 2-10 minutes.

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Contents 2001-2002 Holly Deyo. All rights reserved.