Cyanokit

Cyanide poisoning may result from:1

  • Inhalation: gas Inhalation:
    gas
  • Ingestion: liquid and solid Ingestion:
    liquid and solid
  • Dermal exposure: liquid Dermal exposure:
    liquid

Example of situations with cyanide poisoning

  • Fire smoke
  • CBRN* attack
  • Industrial accident

In FIRE SMOKE

“Where there is smoke,
there may be cyanide”2

Around 154 000 fires between April 2019 and March 2020 in England with 243 fire-related-fatalities3

Building

Building

Family home

Family home

Industry

Industry

Smoke inhalation is a well-established cause of injury and death in victims of fires.4

Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN) is a silent killer present in fire smoke5

  • HCN and Carbon Monoxide (CO) are two of the main noxious gases involved in a fire smoke.4
  • HCN is about 35 times more toxic than CO.6
  • HCN gas is a by-product of thermal degradation of various nitrogen-containing natural and synthetic materials.4,5
  • Example of material:4,5

Synthetic materials

Plastic
Resins
Other Polymers

Natural materials

Wool
Silk
Cotton
Paper

Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN) is a silent killer present in fire smoke

*CBRN: Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear

Bibliography

1 – Reade M. et al; Review article: management of cyanide poisoning
2 – Koschel MJ. Where there’s smoke, there may be cyanide. Am J Nurs. 2002; 102:39-42
3 – Fire statistics: England. April 2019 to March 2020. Home Office Statistical Bulletin 22/20
4 – Grabowska T. et al., Prevalence of hydrogen cyanide and carboxyhaemoglobin in victims of smoke inhalation during enclosed-space fires: a combined toxicological risk. Clinical Toxicology; 2012;50(8):759-763
5 – Alcorta R., Smoke inhalation & acute cyanide poisoning, JEMS communications 2004; 6-16
6 – Tuovinen H, Blomqvist P. Modelling of Hydrogen Cyanide Formation in Room Fires. Brandforsk project 321011. SP Report. 2003:10. SP SwedishNational Testing Research Institute: Borås, Sweden.