Hydrogen Sulfide or Hydrogen Cyanide: Which is More Dangerous?

Chemistry, Health
School kids laugh when malodorous body noises break the silence. “Jimmy just gassed,” little Susie giggles. Such odors are associated with the sulfur that comes from eating eggs, although that is by no means the only source. In fact, the odor that comes from eating eggs is thought by high school students to be due to hydrogen sulfide, H₂S. It is generally thought of as a nuisance, and not as a poison. Another familiar odor is associated with the pit or seed of a peach—bitter almonds. The source of the odor in this case is hydrogen cyanide, HCN. Hydrogen cyanide and its sodium and potassium salts, NaCN and KCN, are often the victim’s cause of death in a television mystery. But… in “real life”… what is the story? Just how…
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Cyanides How Toxic Are They? Are All Cyanides Deadly?

Chemistry, Medicine
Potassium and sodium cyanides are iconic poisons. Murder mystery movies frequently feature one of these two substances as the cause of death. Their chemical formulas may be written more than one way. Most simplistically, they are KCN and NaCN. K stands for potassium (kalium), and Na stands for sodium (natrium). C is for carbon. N is for nitrogen. Another way of writing the chemical formulas of these substances is, K–C≡N and Na–C≡N. Both of these chemical compounds dissolve in water. This makes them especially dangerous, since if consumed, they can enter the bloodstream and travel to all of the bodies’ cells. KCN → K+ + CN- NaCN → Na+ + CN- Cyanides How Toxic? Organic Nitriles Organic nitriles are a kind of cyanide. For instance, acetonitrile is written, CH3CN But…
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