Classic Clock

Rabu, 14 September 2016


Berikut merupakan kutipan ilmiah ilmu lingkungan tentang Toksikologi-Biologi Sel yang sangat bermanfaat sehingga disusun dan digunakan sebagai referensi pribadi.

Perpustakaan keluarga : Helmut Todo Tua Simamora dan dr. Olga Y.V Hutapea

What are cyanides?

Cyanides are fast-acting poisons that can be lethal. They were used as chemical weapons for the first time in World War I. Low levels of cyanides are found in nature and in products we commonly eat and use. Cyanides can be produced by certain bacteria, fungi and algae. Cyanides are also found in cigarette smoke, in vehicle exhaust, and in foods such as spinach, bamboo shoots, almonds, lima beans, fruit pits and tapioca.

What are the properties of cyanide?

There are several chemical forms of cyanide. Hydrogen cyanide is a pale blue or colorless liquid at room temperature and is a colorless gas at higher temperatures. It has a bitter almond odor. Sodium cyanide and potassium cyanide are white powders which may have a bitter almond-like odor. Other chemicals called cyanogens can generate cyanides. Cyanogen chloride is a colorless liquefied gas that is heavier than air and has a pungent odor. While some cyanide compounds have a characteristic odor, odor is not a good way to tell if cyanide is present. Some people are unable to smell cyanide. Other people can smell it at first, but then get used to the odor.

How are cyanides used?

Historically, hydrogen cyanide has been used as a chemical weapon. Cyanide and cyanide-containing compounds are used in pesticides and fumigants, plastics, electroplating, photodeveloping and mining. Dye and drug companies also use cyanides. Some industrial processes, such as iron and steel production, chemical industries and wastewater treatment can create cyanides. During water chlorination, cyanogen chloride may be produced at low levels.

How can people be exposed to cyanides?

People may be exposed to low levels of cyanides in their daily lives from foods, smoking and other sources. Eating or drinking cyanide-containing foods may cause health effects. Breathing cyanide gas, especially in a poorly ventilated space, has the greatest potential for harm. Lethal exposures to cyanides result only from accidents or intentional acts. Because of their quick-acting nature, cyanides may be used as agents of terrorism.

How does cyanide act in the body?

After exposure, cyanide quickly enters the bloodstream. The body handles small amounts of cyanide differently than large amounts. In small doses, cyanide in the body can be changed into thiocyanate, which is less harmful and is excreted in urine. In the body, cyanide in small amounts can also combine with another chemical to form vitamin B12, which helps maintain healthy nerve and red blood cells. In large doses, the body’s ability to change cyanide into thiocyanate is overwhelmed. Large doses of cyanide prevent cells from using oxygen and eventually these cells die. The heart, respiratory system and central nervous system are most susceptible to cyanide poisoning.

What are the specific signs and symptoms of cyanide poisoning?

The health effects from high levels of cyanide exposure can begin in seconds to minutes. Some signs and symptoms of such exposures are:
  • Weakness and confusion
  • Headache
  • Nausea/feeling "sick to your stomach"
  • Gasping for air and difficulty breathing
  • Loss of consciousness/"passing out"
  • Seizures
  • Cardiac arrest
The severity of health effects depends upon the route and duration of exposure, the dose, and the form of cyanide.

What can you do if you think you may have been exposed to a release of cyanide?

If you have been exposed to a release of cyanide, take the following steps:
  • Quickly move away from the area where you think you were exposed. If the release was indoors, go outdoors.
    • If you are near a release of cyanide, emergency coordinators may tell you to either evacuate the area or to "shelter in place." To "shelter in place" means to remain indoors to avoid being exposed to the chemical. While indoors, shut and lock all doors and windows, turn off air conditioners, fans and heaters, and close fireplace dampers.
    • For more information on evacuation during a chemical emergency, see Facts About Evacuation ( For more information on sheltering in place during a chemical emergency, see Facts About Sheltering in Place (
  • Quickly remove any clothing that may have cyanide on it. If possible, clothing that is normally removed over the head (like t-shirts and sweaters) should be cut off the body to prevent additional contact with the agent.
    • Place your clothing inside a plastic bag and seal the bag tightly.
    • Do not handle the plastic bag, and wait for instructions on proper disposal.
    • Disposing of your clothing in a sealed bag helps protect you and other people from additional exposure.
    • Store the bagged clothing in a secure location away from people, especially children.
  • Quickly wash any cyanide from your skin with large amounts of soap and water, and flush your eyes with large amounts of water.
    • Remove and dispose of contact lenses.
    • Wash eyeglasses with soap and water before wearing.
    • Do not use bleach to remove cyanide from your skin.
  • If needed, seek medical attention right away.

How is cyanide exposure treated?

Moving away from the point of exposure to fresh air is an important first step in treating cyanide exposure. Cyanide poisoning can be further treated by medical professionals. Often patients are given oxygen. Two antidotes (sodium nitrite and sodium thiosulfate) are usually used to stop the effects of serious cyanide poisoning. Other drugs may be necessary to control additional health effects of cyanide such as seizures. People who experience serious signs and symptoms will need immediate hospital care, especially individuals who have "passed out" or are unconscious. Any delay could result in death.

Will laboratory testing assist in making treatment decisions if someone has been exposed to cyanide?

While an elevated blood cyanide concentration may indicate that someone has been exposed to cyanide, laboratory testing for cyanide exposure will not be useful in making emergency treatment decisions. A patient exposed to cyanide should not expect medical personnel to do these tests before treatment. Treatment should not be delayed if signs and symptoms are present and exposure is believed to have occurred.
Cyanide in suicide pills is typically potassium cyanide. Which is a salt, works( is extremely toxic) by being a extremely strong cellular respiration inhibitor. So basically it acts on mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase and therefore blocks oxidative phosphorylation.

The effects and timeline of cyanide depend quite a bit on the dosage. For a cyanide capsule, about 300mg oughta kill anyone quickly.

The capsule is broken open by biting, then the contents (usually potassium cyanide) are swallowed. Potassium cyanide isn't deadly on its own, it has to react with stomach acids to become hydrogen cyanide. There are a few people who have somehow survived large doses of potassium cyanide, possibly because their stomachs were not acidic enough to create hydrogen cyanide for some reason.

Assuming an empty, acidic stomach and a high dose, cyanide is almost instantly absorbed into the blood and acts insanely quickly. The L-Pill issued to American spyplane pilots by the CIA killed its user in 10-15 seconds, so there's not really much of a timeline there.

If the victim had food in his/her stomach, or didn't have a very acidic stomach, or got a lower or slower dose for some other reason, you could expect the following symptoms in about this order as hydrogen cyanide messes with the parts of cell membranes that move oxygen inside cells, keeping the cells from being able to get any oxygen:

  • Headache, confusion, or disorientation
  • Skin looks red, because blood becomes bright red (from excess oxygen, since the body can't take any out of the blood and use it, the blood gets more and more oxygenated)
  • The feeling of trouble breathing or rapid breathing (lungs are actually working fine, but body can't use any of the oxygen, so you feel like there's something wrong with your breathing)
  • Unconsciousness (no oxygen for brain)
  • Periods of stopping breathing
  • Seizures, sometimes including vomiting
  • Deep coma and brain death
  • Heart stops (death)
But usually suicide pills are designed to have such a high dose that everything happens at once and you go straight to the "dead" part.
Spies kept cyanide (glass) capsules, ever wondered why Glass Capsules?

Cyanide is a deadly poison only when it comes in touch with blood. 
Blood is nothing but Iron (hemoglobin). I carries oxygen in and out of the blood. When (potassium generally) cyanide comes in touch with blood (oxyhemoglobin), it forms a stable compound CYANO-HEMOGLOBIN. Oxyhemoglobin itself is unstable to capture and release oxygen. 

This makes hemoglobin useless to carry oxygen to and fro. Hence it proves fatal and kills humans instantly. 

Glass capsules were used so as to make a cut when chewed to expose blood stream. 

Hope this simple explanation helps.

The cyanide' s toxic effect takes place during The last step of The respiratory transport chain. Normaly, during The transport a H+ gradient is created when electrons are transported to O2. This H+ gradient is used by The ATP-sintase to create ATP. Cyanide blocks This step , and no ATP is generated. This will lead the organism to death.

When one mentions Cyanide as poison they usually refer to Potassium Cyanide. In a layman's term it causes death by suffocation. Now let me explain science in a simple manner.

Step 1. Biting of the capsule: Potassium Cyanide is highly water soluble and as can easily enter cells via ion channels. Once a person bites the capsule, pot cyanide readily permeates the blood vessels and is be transported to tissues.

Step 2. Biochemistry: any living cell needs energy. This energy comes from the use of oxygen on mitochondria. There are thousands of cellular processes happening in a man's body in real time and they are consuming energy in the form of ATPs (Adenosine triphosphate). If the supply of ATP is stopped, the cells die, and eventually a human dies. Heart beats, nervous system etc need a constant supply of energy. But cyanide prevents the production of ATP in mitochondria by blocking a key enzyme (cytochrome C oxidase). This is similar to blocking supply of oxygen only in this case oxygen is there but cells cannot use it. This turns off the supply of energy to vital processes and a person dies.
This probably would feel like suffocation and have symptoms similar to high altitude sickness.

Cyanide poisoning is a form of histotoxic hypoxia because the cells of an organism are unable to use oxygen, primarily through the inhibition of cytochrome c oxidase. Acute hydrogen cyanide poisoning can result from inhalation of fumes from burning polymer products that use nitriles in their production, such as wool, silk, polyurethane, or vinyl. If cyanide is inhaled it causes a coma with seizuresapnea, and cardiac arrest, with death following in a matter of minutes. At lower doses, loss of consciousness may be preceded by general weakness, giddiness, headaches, vertigo, confusion, and perceived difficulty in breathing. At the first stages of unconsciousness, breathing is often sufficient or even rapid, although the state of the victim progresses towards a deep coma, sometimes accompanied by pulmonary edema, and finally cardiac arrest. A cherry red skin color may be present as the result of increased venous hemoglobin oxygen saturation. Cyanide does not directly cause cyanosis. A fatal dose for humans can be as low as 1.5 mg/kg body weight.

Cyanide goes into your mitochondria, messes up ATP generation (binds really hard to the iron part of cytochrome c oxidase, like carbon monoxide, azide, and hydrogen sulfide) causing a back-up of the production line. So the cells run out of energy, stop functioning, which is bad when enough of them get hit, critical processes get interrupted and you die!

One of the top poisons in the world is the poison called cyanide. This is used widely as a toxic material that can effectively kill people, and take note that this is also sold in capsules as well. In movies, and even in some real-life events, this capsule is being slipped in a lot of drinks, food, and even served as a fake medicine in order to effectively kill a person.
Take note that this is an active compound that spreads on our own bloodstream once we consume it. Cyanide tends to create a mixture of compounds in the body using its own compound along with the other ones in our body to create the poison. Cyanide is mostly potassium, and it can easily bond with blood which is an active component called oxyhemoglobin. Once the two combine in our bloodsteam, it creates a brand new type of hemoglobin which makes the blood unstable enough to manipulate the oxygen in our body.
Once this happens, our own hemoglobin will become nothing in terms of its functionality. Therefore, it will cause problem in our own bloodstream when distributing oxygen; thus causing trouble in all of our bodily functions to the point where we will just die in an instant especially when taken under heavy dosages.
Cyanide is often stored in a glass capsule so that it will easily flow into the bloodsteam once it’s cut via chewing. This is a very potent poison that’s not joke to be used, and we must be responsible when handling it! Read this to know more about cyanide
It inhibits the ETS (electron transport system ) of the cell, which leads to immediate death.

Sumber : Internet

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