Animals most affected
accidental spillage into rivers and ponds, e.g. effluents from metal-coating
industries; all living organisms in the immediate vicinity will most likely die
as a consequence of exposure;
ingestion of deliberately poisoned baits such as sausages, eggs, injected with
See also individual entries for poisonous
plants containing cyanogenetic glycosides
cyanides have been used to kill fish in large quantities during unauthorized fishing.
It is possible to eat fish killed by this means once it has been cooked (hydrocyanic
acid breaks down and volatilizes at temperatures of 160C).
Inhibits enzymes, particularly those of the
Toxic doses in mg/kg:
Onset may be immediate with death in several
minutes preceded by convulsions, spasms and paddling movements.
Acute syndrome with death within 20 to 30
minutes of exposure:
dyspnoea and hyperpnoea, excitability;
tonic-clonic convulsions, epileptiform
severe respiratory depression, bradypnoea;
loss of consciousness, coma and death
after several jerky, convulsive movements.
If amounts ingested are small or of low concentration,
recovery is most likely within several hours, without sequelae.
haemolysis, with blood a deep vermilion
odour of bitter almonds when the gastric
cavities are opened (not in every case).
Often not applicable or possible due to the
rapid onset of clinical effects; furthermore, efficacy not proven:
iv Na hyposulphite, 3 mg/100 kg;
iv Na nitrite (10% solution), 15 ml/100 kg;
iv dicobalt edetate (Kelocyanor), 2-25 mg/kg.
To determine the level of HCN involved. Care
should be taken as the compound is highly volatile and it is essential that the sample
for analysis is very fresh or frozen immediately:
gills (of fish).