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Administrative data

Description of key information

The systemic toxicity of cyanides is sufficiently high that systemic intoxication and death are likely to occur before the development of inflammatory irritation effects on the skin or in the eye.  Protection of workers for acute toxicity effects will protect them from irritation effects, as well. 

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Skin irritation / corrosion

Endpoint conclusion
Endpoint conclusion:
no adverse effect observed (not irritating)

Eye irritation

Endpoint conclusion
Endpoint conclusion:
no adverse effect observed (not irritating)

Respiratory irritation

Endpoint conclusion
Endpoint conclusion:
no adverse effect observed (not irritating)

Additional information

The conduct of irritation studies according to established protocols is not technically feasible, due the high acute systemic toxicity of cyanide compounds at the required doses. The systemic toxicity of cyanides is sufficiently high that systemic intoxication and death are likely to occur before the development of inflammatory irritation effects on the skin or in the eye. Commercial solutions of cyanide salts are maintained at a basic pH (11), so that any irritation which may result from exposure cannot be ascribed specifically to cyanide itself. Respiratory irritancy can not be excluded especially with the solution, but due to the high systemic toxicity potential appropriate measures have to be applied to avoid inhalation of the substances. Additional risk management measures include gloves, boots and protective clothing to protect against both acute toxicity and skin, eye and respiratory irritation.

Justification for classification or non-classification

Cyanide salts are not classified as irritants. Acute systemic toxicity from dermal or respirtory absorption is a more critical health effect . However, workers will be protected from potential irritation as risk management measures including personal protective equipment (gloves, boots, respirators, etc) are required to prevent systemic toxicity from dermal or inhalation exposure.

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