From: Alan Hall <ahalltoxic**At_Symbol_Here**MSN.COM>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] First aid for Chemical exposures
Date: April 18, 2012 3:18:03 PM EDT
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: <3f4ce.2005a5c1.3cc05cd7**At_Symbol_Here**>

My  Worthy Opponent:
Are these artrists doing electroplating with large-scale cyanide salt baths?  If so, why?  What kind of art needs  that, or,  (in the words  of Robert A. Heinlein) only requires a blowtorch and astigmatism.  Rodin did it much  better (although one might wonder about dusts from the chiseling).  There's some older data from Turkey and Italy about the potential for chronic cyanide poisoning, but I find it rather unconvincing.  We do have some anecdotal cases of multiple subacute cyanide exposures from the gold/silver mining industry where perhaps there can be a sort of ill-defined diffuse encephalopathy, and of course in serious poisoning cases (almost all suicidal overdoses resulting in coma and required ICU care with ventilator assistance) there can be either a diffuse encephalopathy or specific lesions in the basal ganglia which produce a Parkinsonian-like syndrome which because it's the other end of the neurotransmitter feeback loop does not respond well to the usual anti-Parkinsonian medications.  Thre's probably less than 20 reported cases in the world's literature in any language I can read.
Good idea about a liason with the nearest ED and they should (but perhaps based on some research out of Denver) may or may not have either of the FDA-approved cyanide antidote kits -- well to check before an incident occurs -- (and I have numerous reservations about the FDA process and the Package Insert for the Nithiodote(R) version from a generic outfit in Arizona, but it apparently is available but only has single doses of IV sodium nitrite and sodium thiosulfate not amyl nitrite inhalers).
Naturally, cyanide salts + acids generate HCN vapor that's how the old San Quentin Gas Chamber worked.  And please don't ask me about the legal nonsense that surrounded that one -- things best forgotten.
Good idea also about the data sheets.
Alan H. Hall, M.D.
Medical Toxicologist


Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2012 14:07:19 -0400
From: ACTSNYC**At_Symbol_Here**CS.COM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] First aid for Chemical exposures

Since we deal with cyanide plating and other cyanide processes in art, my recommendations are usually

1)  that the school liaison with the nearest ER to be certain that they are prepared to treat with the kit 

2) we strongly recommend that someone in the department, preferably a tech who is there whenever anyone has access to cyanide, be trained to do it as well since the time to treat is so limited.

I also provide a simple data sheet to explain the reaction between acids and cyanide solutions, skin absorption, and other basic issues.  I'll be interested if anyone has other suggestions that I should include for these chemically completely unsophisticated art workers.


In a message dated 4/18/2012 1:28:54 PM Eastern Daylight Time, drrayng**At_Symbol_Here**GMAIL.COM writes:

On the subject of first aid, what are your thoughts on having a cyanide poisoning kit on hand (amyl nitrite)?


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