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Chemical Datasheet

POTASSIUM CYANIDE

6.1 - Poison
Chemical Identifiers | Hazards | Response Recommendations | Physical Properties | Regulatory Information | Alternate Chemical Names

Chemical Identifiers

The Chemical Identifier fields include common identification numbers, the NFPA diamond, U.S. Department of Transportation hazard labels, and a general description of the chemical. The information in CAMEO Chemicals comes from a variety of data sources..
CAS Number UN/NA Number DOT Hazard Label USCG CHRIS Code
  • 151-50-8
  • Poison
NFPA 704
Diamond Hazard Value Description
0
3 0
Blue Health 3 Can cause serious or permanent injury.
Red Flammability 0 Will not burn under typical fire conditions.
Yellow Instability 0 Normally stable, even under fire conditions.
White Special
(NFPA, 2010)
NIOSH Pocket Guide International Chem Safety Card
Potassium cyanide (as CN)external link
General Description
White amorphous lumps or a crystalline mass with a faint odor of bitter almonds. Density 1.52 g / cm3 Toxic by skin absorption through open wounds, by ingestion. Heating to decomposition produces toxic fumes. Used for gold and silver extraction, in chemical analysis, to make other chemicals, and as an insecticide.

Hazards

The Hazard fields include special hazard alerts, air and water reactions, fire hazards, health hazards, a reactivity profile, and details about reactive groups assignments and potentially incompatible absorbents. The information in CAMEO Chemicals comes from a variety of data sources.
Reactivity Alerts
Air & Water Reactions
Deliquescent. Soluble in water. Dissolution releases some poisonous hydrogen cyanide gas. The amount is not hazardous except in an enclosed space. If the water is acidic, dangerous amounts of hydrogen cyanide form at once. Based on a scenario where the chemical is spilled into an excess of water (at least 5 fold excess of water), half of the maximum theoretical yield of Hydrogen Cyanide gas will be created in 12 minutes. Experimental details are in the following: "Development of the Table of Initial Isolation and Protective Distances for the 2008 Emergency Response Guidebook", ANL/DIS-09-2, D.F. Brown, H.M. Hartmann, W.A. Freeman, and W.D. Haney, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois, June 2009.
Fire Hazard
Contact with acid releases highly flammable hydrogen cyanide gas. Moisture may cause this material to volatilize as hydrogen cyanide. When heated to decomposition, it emits very toxic fumes of cyanide and nitrogen oxides. Reacts with acids to produce hydrogen cyanide gas. Reacts with strong oxidizers such as nitrates and chlorates, nitrogen trichloride; perchloryl fluoride; sodium nitrate; acids; alkaloids; chloral hydrate; iodine. Avoid contact with acids. (EPA, 1998)
Health Hazard
It is classified as super toxic. Probable oral lethal dose in humans is less than 5 mg/kg or less than a taste (7 drops) for a 150 lb. person. It is an eye and skin irritant. Poisonous in very small quantities; a taste is lethal. (EPA, 1998)
Reactivity Profile
POTASSIUM CYANIDE is a basic salt and a reducing agent. Reacts with acids of all kinds to generate poisonous hydrogen cyanide gas. Can react violently with oxidizing agents: fusion with metal chlorates, perchlorates, nitrates, or nitrites can cause explosions [Bretherick 1979. p. 101]. A mixture with perchloryl fluoride may explode above 100°C. A mixture with nitrite salts may cause an explosion [Pieters 1957. p. 30]. Incompatible with iodine. Initiates the explosive decomposition of nitrogen trichloride.
Belongs to the Following Reactive Group(s)
Potentially Incompatible Absorbents

No information available.

Response Recommendations

The Response Recommendation fields include isolation and evacuation distances, as well as recommendations for firefighting, non-fire response, protective clothing, and first aid. The information in CAMEO Chemicals comes from a variety of data sources.
Isolation and Evacuation
Excerpt from ERG Guide 157 [Substances - Toxic and/or Corrosive (Non-Combustible / Water-Sensitive)]:

As an immediate precautionary measure, isolate spill or leak area in all directions for at least 50 meters (150 feet) for liquids and at least 25 meters (75 feet) for solids.

SPILL: See ERG Table 1 - Initial Isolation and Protective Action Distances on the UN/NA 1680 datasheet.

FIRE: If tank, rail car or tank truck is involved in a fire, ISOLATE for 800 meters (1/2 mile) in all directions; also, consider initial evacuation for 800 meters (1/2 mile) in all directions. (ERG, 2016)
Firefighting
Wear full protective clothing. Wear positive pressure breathing apparatus and special protective clothing. Move container from fire area if you can do it without risk. Fight fire from maximum distance. Dike fire control water for later disposal; do not scatter the material.

Water may be used on fire in an area containing potassium cyanide. Extinguish with dry chemical, carbon dioxide, water spray, fog, or foam. (EPA, 1998)
Non-Fire Response
Excerpt from ERG Guide 157 [Substances - Toxic and/or Corrosive (Non-Combustible / Water-Sensitive)]:

ELIMINATE all ignition sources (no smoking, flares, sparks or flames in immediate area). All equipment used when handling the product must be grounded. Do not touch damaged containers or spilled material unless wearing appropriate protective clothing. Stop leak if you can do it without risk. A vapor-suppressing foam may be used to reduce vapors. DO NOT GET WATER INSIDE CONTAINERS. Use water spray to reduce vapors or divert vapor cloud drift. Avoid allowing water runoff to contact spilled material. Prevent entry into waterways, sewers, basements or confined areas.

SMALL SPILL: Cover with DRY earth, DRY sand or other non-combustible material followed with plastic sheet to minimize spreading or contact with rain. Use clean, non-sparking tools to collect material and place it into loosely covered plastic containers for later disposal. (ERG, 2016)
Protective Clothing
Skin: Wear appropriate personal protective clothing to prevent skin contact.

Eyes: Wear appropriate eye protection to prevent eye contact.

Wash skin: The worker should immediately wash the skin when it becomes contaminated.

Remove: Work clothing that becomes wet or significantly contaminated should be removed and replaced.

Change: Workers whose clothing may have become contaminated should change into uncontaminated clothing before leaving the work premise.

Provide: Eyewash fountains should be provided in areas where there is any possibility that workers could be exposed to the substance; this is irrespective of the recommendation involving the wearing of eye protection. Facilities for quickly drenching the body should be provided within the immediate work area for emergency use where there is a possibility of exposure. [Note: It is intended that these facilities provide a sufficient quantity or flow of water to quickly remove the substance from any body areas likely to be exposed. The actual determination of what constitutes an adequate quick drench facility depends on the specific circumstances. In certain instances, a deluge shower should be readily available, whereas in others, the availability of water from a sink or hose could be considered adequate.] (NIOSH, 2016)
DuPont Tychem® Suit Fabrics
Tychem® Fabric Legend
QC = Tychem QC
SL = Tychem SL
TF = Tychem F
TP = Tychem ThermoPro
C3 = Tychem CPF 3
BR = Tychem BR
RC = Tychem Responder® CSM
TK = Tychem TK
RF = Tychem Reflector®
Testing Details
Permeation data obtained per ASTM F739. Normalized breakthrough times (the time at which the permeation rate is equal to 0.1 µg/cm2/min) reported in minutes. All liquid chemicals have been tested between approximately 20°C and 27°C unless otherwise stated. All chemicals have been tested at a concentration of greater than 95% unless otherwise stated. Chemical warfare agents (Lewisite, Sarin, Soman, Sulfur Mustard, Tabun and VX Nerve Agent) have been tested at 22°C and 50% relative humidity per military standard MIL-STD-282.
Normalized Breakthrough Times (in Minutes)
Chemical CAS Number State QC SL TF TP C3 BR RC TK RF
Potassium cyanide (10%) 151-50-8 Liquid >480
> indicates greater than.
A blank cell indicates the fabric has not been tested. The fabric may or may not offer barrier.

Special Warnings from DuPont

  1. Serged and bound seams are degraded by some hazardous liquid chemicals, such as strong acids, and should not be worn when these chemicals are present.
  2. CAUTION: This information is based upon technical data that DuPont believes to be reliable. It is subject to revision as additional knowledge and experience are gained. DuPont makes no guarantee of results and assumes no obligation or liability...
    ... in connection with this information. It is the user's responsibility to determine the level of toxicity and the proper personal protective equipment needed. The information set forth herein reflects laboratory performance of fabrics, not complete garments, under controlled conditions. It is intended for informational use by persons having technical skill for evaluation under their specific end-use conditions, at their own discretion and risk. Anyone intending to use this information should first verify that the garment selected is suitable for the intended use. In many cases, seams and closures have shorter breakthrough times and higher permeation rates than the fabric. Please contact DuPont for specific data. If fabric becomes torn, abraded or punctured, or if seams or closures fail, or if attached gloves, visors, etc. are damaged, end user should discontinue use of garment to avoid potential exposure to chemical. Since conditions of use are outside our control, we make no warranties, express or implied, including, without limitation, no warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular use and assume no liability in connection with any use of this information. This information is not intended as a license to operate under or a recommendation to infringe any patent or technical information of DuPont or others covering any material or its use.

(DuPont, 2016)

First Aid
Warning: Effects may be delayed. Caution is advised. Vital signs should be monitored closely. Heart palpitation may occur within minutes after exposure.

Signs and Symptoms of Acute Potassium Cyanide Exposure: Signs and symptoms of acute exposure to potassium cyanide may include hypertension (high blood pressure) and tachycardia (rapid heart rate), followed by hypotension (low blood pressure) and bradycardia (slow heart rate). Cardiac arrhythmias and other cardiac abnormalities are common. Cyanosis (blue tint to the skin and mucous membranes), and cherry-red or bloody mucous membranes may appear. Tachypnea (rapid respiratory rate) may be followed by respiratory depression. Lung hemorrhage and pulmonary edema may occur. Headache, vertigo (dizziness), agitation, and giddiness may precede combative behavior, convulsions, paralysis, protruding eyeballs, dilated and unreactive pupils, and coma. Potassium cyanide is irritating to the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes. Lacrimation (tearing) and a burning sensation of the mouth and throat are common. Salivation, nausea, and vomiting may also occur.

Emergency Life-Support Procedures: Acute exposure to potassium cyanide may require decontamination and life support for the victims. All exposed persons should be transported to a health care facility as quickly as possible. Emergency personnel should wear protective clothing appropriate to the type and degree of contamination. Air- purifying or supplied-air respiratory equipment should also be worn, as necessary. Rescue vehicles should carry supplies such as plastic sheeting and disposable plastic bags to assist in preventing spread of contamination.

Inhalation Exposure:
1. Move victims to fresh air. Emergency personnel should avoid self-exposure to potassium cyanide.
2. Evaluate vital signs including pulse and respiratory rate, and note any trauma. If no pulse is detected, provide CPR. If not breathing, provide artificial respiration. IMMEDIATELY begin administering 100% oxygen to all victims. Monitor victims for respiratory distress.Warning: To prevent self-poisoning, avoid mouth-to-mouth breathing; use a forced-oxygen mask. Direct oral contact with potassium cyanide- contaminated persons or their gastric contents can result in self- poisoning.
3. RUSH to a health care facility!
4. Obtain authorization and/or further instructions from the local hospital for administration of an antidote or performance of other invasive procedures.

Dermal/Eye Exposure:
1. Remove victims from exposure. Emergency personnel should avoid self- exposure to potassium cyanide.
2. Evaluate vital signs including pulse and respiratory rate, and note any trauma. If no pulse is detected, provide CPR. If not breathing, provide artificial respiration. IMMEDIATELY begin administering 100% oxygen to all victims. Monitor victims for respiratory distress.Warning: To prevent self-poisoning, avoid mouth-to-mouth breathing; use a forced-oxygen mask. Direct oral contact with potassium cyanide- contaminated persons or their gastric contents can result in self- poisoning.
3. RUSH to a health care facility!
4. Remove contaminated clothing as soon as possible.
5. If eye exposure has occurred, eyes must be flushed with lukewarm water for at least 15 minutes.
6. Wash exposed skin areas twice with soap and water.
7. Obtain authorization and/or further instructions from the local hospital for administration of an antidote or performance of other invasive procedures.

Ingestion Exposure:
1. Evaluate vital signs including pulse and respiratory rate, and note any trauma. If no pulse is detected, provide CPR. If not breathing, provide artificial respiration. IMMEDIATELY begin administering 100% oxygen to all victims. Monitor victims for respiratory distress.Warning: To prevent self-poisoning, avoid mouth-to-mouth breathing; use a forced-oxygen mask. Direct oral contact with potassium cyanide- contaminated persons or their gastric contents can result in self- poisoning.
2. RUSH to a health care facility!
3. DO NOT induce vomiting. Ipecac is not recommended for ingestion of potassium cyanide.
4. Obtain authorization and/or further instructions from the local hospital for administration of an antidote or performance of other invasive procedures.
5. Activated charcoal may be administered if victims are conscious and alert. Use 15 to 30 g (1/2 to 1 oz) for children, 50 to 100 g (1-3/4 to 3-1/2 oz) for adults, with 125 to 250 mL (1/2 to 1 cup) of water.
6. Promote excretion by administering a saline cathartic or sorbitol to conscious and alert victims. Children require 15 to 30 g (1/2 to 1 oz) of cathartic; 50 to 100 g (1-3/4 to 3-1/2 oz) is recommended for adults. (EPA, 1998)

Physical Properties

The Physical Property fields include properties such as vapor pressure and boiling point, as well as explosive limits and toxic exposure thresholds. The information in CAMEO Chemicals comes from a variety of data sources.
Chemical Formula:
  • KCN
Flash Point: Not flammable (EPA, 1998)
Lower Explosive Limit (LEL): data unavailable
Upper Explosive Limit (UEL): data unavailable
Autoignition Temperature: Not flammable (USCG, 1999)
Melting Point: 1173 ° F (EPA, 1998)
Vapor Pressure: 0 mm Hg (approx) (NIOSH, 2016)
Vapor Density (Relative to Air): data unavailable
Specific Gravity: 1.52 at 60.8 ° F (EPA, 1998)
Boiling Point: Very high (USCG, 1999)
Molecular Weight: 65.11 (EPA, 1998)
Water Solubility: 72 % at 77° F (NIOSH, 2016)
Ionization Potential: data unavailable
IDLH: 25 mg/m3 (as CN) (NIOSH, 2016)

AEGLs (Acute Exposure Guideline Levels)

Final AEGLs for Potassium cyanide (151-50-8)
Exposure Period AEGL-1 AEGL-2 AEGL-3
10 minutes 6.6 mg/m3 45 mg/m3 72 mg/m3
30 minutes 6.6 mg/m3 27 mg/m3 56 mg/m3
60 minutes 5.3 mg/m3 19 mg/m3 40 mg/m3
4 hours 3.5 mg/m3 9.3 mg/m3 23 mg/m3
8 hours 2.7 mg/m3 6.6 mg/m3 18 mg/m3
(NAC/NRC, 2016)

ERPGs (Emergency Response Planning Guidelines)

No ERPG information available.

PACs (Protective Action Criteria)

Chemical PAC-1 PAC-2 PAC-3
Potassium cyanide (151-50-8) 5.3 mg/m3 19 mg/m3 40 mg/m3
(DOE, 2016)

Regulatory Information

The Regulatory Information fields include information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Title III Consolidated List of Lists and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (see more about these data sources).

EPA Consolidated List of Lists

Regulatory Name CAS Number/
313 Category Code
EPCRA 302
EHS TPQ
EPCRA 304
EHS RQ
CERCLA RQ EPCRA 313
TRI
RCRA
Code
CAA 112(r)
RMP TQ
Cyanide Compounds N106 & 313
Potassium cyanide 151-50-8 100 pounds 10 pounds 10 pounds 313c P098

(EPA List of Lists, 2015)

DHS Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS)

RELEASE THEFT SABOTAGE
Chemical of Interest CAS Number Min Conc STQ Security
Issue
Min Conc STQ Security
Issue
Min Conc STQ Security
Issue
Potassium cyanide 151-50-8 ACG APA sabotage/ contamination

(DHS, 2007)

Alternate Chemical Names

This section provides a listing of alternate names for this chemical, including trade names and synonyms.