Author Topic: Cyanide Dangers and Disposal.  (Read 572 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


  • Guest
Cyanide Dangers and Disposal.
« on: April 26, 2004, 12:34:00 AM »
Swim has recently been looking at the synthesis of 2c-x starting from the dimethoxybenzene followed by metylbromination and then SN2 substitution with -CN.
Swim is wondering if the NaCN salt can be handled safely without swim killing himself. What precautions should be taken to insure CN poisoning will not occur. (Obviously this is no project for the kitchen).  (Comparatively, how much more toxic is NaCN to HgCl2)

Also, when it comes to the disposal of the excess CN in the reaction vessle, swim read that at high pH and Bleach one can oxidize the CN to an OCN. From this step how would dispose of the OCN?


  • Guest
living with NaCN
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2004, 05:20:00 AM »
HgCl2 and NaCN have similar acute toxicities, but I am much less fearful of NaCN than HgCl2. Mercury is a cumulative poison, whereas cyanides exhibit relatively little cumulative toxicity. This is not to say that there are no chronic effects from cyanide exposure - there are! - but that repeated exposure to small quantities of mercuric chloride is far more likely to harm your health than repeated exposure to small (emphasis on small!) quantities of cyanides.

Do not inhale or make skin contact with solid cyanide salts or their solutions. Aqueous cyanide solutions slowly release HCN, and release it much more rapidly when acidified; this is also strongly affected by temperature.

Put most of your safety efforts toward prevention of accidents, not treatment. I assume you are working solo. You won't have time to administer any treatments to yourself if you are poisoned by inhalation, so make sure you aren't exposed in the first place.

Cyanates undergo hydrolysis to ammonia and carbon dioxide, and aren't especially toxic even if discharged as such. A variety of cyanide/cyanate treatment reactions are described here, using environmentally friendly peroxy compounds:


  • Guest
Thanks, swim can easily get one of those ...
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2004, 05:36:00 AM »
Thanks, swim can easily get one of those hazmat suites to curb his paranoia of CN (ahmen to all those post 911 terrorist survival websites).

The disposal was the issue primarily b/c swim has moral issues with throwing it down the sink and potentially killing people/wild life.

thanks for the information.