Cyanide poisoning may result from:1

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

Example of situations with cyanide poisoning

  • Fire smoke
  • CBRN* attack
  • Industrial accident

Industrial Risk

Cyanide is present throughout industry, more than
600 000 metric tonnes are produced every year worldwide,
including 100 000 metric tonnes in the European Union.2

Cyanides are used particularly in:3

  • Metal trades (metal cleaning)
  • Mining
  • Jewelry manufacturing (reclaiming or hardening)
  • Dyeing
  • Agriculture (fumigation)

Exposure to salts and cyanogens occasionally causes poisoning; however a significant risk for multiple casualties occurs when these products come into contact with mineral acids because HCN gas is produced. 3

Industrial Risk
Industrial Risk
*CBRN: Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear


1 - Reade M. et al; Review article: management of cyanide poisoning 2 - Amizet L. et al., Occupational cyanide poisoning, BMJ Case reports 2011:1-3 3 - Ogbuagu O. et al; IJBSBT 2019; (11): 157-164