Cyanide Toxicity

In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan.


Cyanide is a rapidly acting substance that is traditionally known as a poison. Hydrogen cyanide was first isolated from Prussian blue dye in 1786, and cyanide first extracted from almonds around 1800. Cyanide can exist as a gas, hydrogen cyanide, a salt, potassium cyanide. Natural substances in some foods such as lima beans, almonds can release cyanide. Cyanide is also found in manufacturing and industrial sources such as insecticides, photographic solutions, and jewelry cleaners. It has been used as a poison in mass homicides and suicides. During World War II, the Nazis used cyanide as an agent of genocide in gas chambers.

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