Toxno Substance Profile
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Substance Name

Cyanamide
Identification Number: CASRN | 420-04-2

  Substance Attributes


  • Metabolic Interference or Disruption

    Interferes with human metabolism. This can be a very serious thing. Some of these interference mechanics are well established. However, often long term effects and health consequences remain largely unknown. Additionally an emerging area of concern and one that is not currently studied, is the combined synergistic effects these metabolically disrupting chemicals have on human health.


    Metabolic interference happens when the substance produces highly reactive and often damaging intermediates during detoxification or when the substance binds to specific enzymes, important structural groups on molecules, receptors and membranes or targets DNA or mimics key nutrients.

  • Exposure Produces Health Symptoms

    Symptoms maybe short term or long term depending on the exposure duration and intensity and effects areas like Cardiovascular, Gastrointestinal, Cognition, Fatigue. A substance with this attribute may cause an allergic skin reaction, serious eye irritation, allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled.

  • Serious Acute Effects

    This is a serious nasty substance. Effects are Acute (seen immediately). Substances in this category may be FATAL or acutely toxic if inhaled, skin contact or swallowed. See further details.

  • Toxic to Bees

    Bees pollinate plants. No pollination no plants. No plants no food. We go hungry or starve.

These attributes are ONLY based on peer-reviewed evidence. See link to Data Sources below. Everyone benefits from knowing this stuff. Please Share.



  • CATEGORIES: Industrial/Workplace Toxin | Synthetic Toxin | PESTICIDE active ingredient | organic | herbicide | plant growth regulator | Pesticide or Plant Growth Regulator Approved in Australia | Pesticide approved in USA (California) | Toxic and Dangerous to bees. Currently used in Australia as a pesticide | A Hazardous Substance that may be found in the Australian Workplace
  • SUBSTANCE LINEAGE: Organic Compounds | Organonitrogen Compounds | | | Nitriles
  • SYNONYMS: Amidocyanogen | Carbamonitrile | Carbodiimide | Cyanoamine | H2N-C#N | NH2CN
  • DESCRIPTION: Cyanamide is an organic compound with the formula CN2H2. This white solid is widely used in agriculture and the production of pharmaceuticals and other organic compounds. It is also used as an alcohol deterrent drug in Canada, Europe and Japan. The molecule features a nitrile group attached to an amino group. Although it is similar in structure to hydrogen cyanide, it is not as toxic. Derivatives of this compound are also referred to as cyanamides, the most common being calcium cyanamide (CaCN2). Calcium cyanamide or CaCN2 is a calcium compound used as fertilizer, first synthesized in 1898 by Adolph Frank and Nikodem Caro (Frank-Caro process). It is formed when calcium carbide reacts with nitrogen. It is commercially known as Nitrolime. In enzymology, a cyanamide hydratase is an enzyme that catalyzes the chemical reaction.
  • COMMENTS: Residues of this pesticide are tested for on Australian Foods | Pesticide approved in Australia Dangerous to bees. DO NOT spray any plants in flower where bees are foraging.

    From Safe Work Australia and the Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) in Australia:

    Toxic if swallowed. Harmful in contact with skin. Causes serious eye irritation. Causes skin irritation. May cause an allergic skin reaction | Acutely Toxic | A Hazardous Substance that may be found in the Australian Workplace. Check with your employer or health and safety officer. Stay informed and become aware of the dangers that surround you. This chemical is included on the list of recognised hazardous chemicals from the Safe Work Australia - Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) that is based on the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)

    Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations are the basis for hazardous chemicals regulations in Commonwealth, State and Territory jurisdictions in Australia. Under the model WHS Regulations, manufacturers and importers of substances, mixtures and articles supplied for use in workplaces are required to determine whether they are hazardous to health and safety before supply. The model WHS Regulations mandate that the hazards of a chemical as determined by the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) must be included in safety data sheets and on labels. There are transitional arrangements in place for moving to the GHS-based system.

    The GHS Hazardous Chemical Information List contains chemicals classified by an authoritative source (such as the European Commission or NICNAS) in accordance with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (the GHS). This list contains the vast majority of chemicals currently in HSIS. This list and its detail are regularly updated by Work Safe Australia. The model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations require chemicals to be classified in accordance with the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). However transitional arrangements allow use of classification information in HSIS derived from the Approved Criteria until the 31 December 2016.
  • toxin chemical structure pubchem
  • FORMULA: CH2N2
  • DATA SOURCES: DATA SOURCES: T3DB | PubChem | Consolidated Pesticide Information Dataset (CPI) from the USA EPA | Compendium of Pesticide Common Names | APVMA | DPR | Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation; Honeybee pesticide poisoning: a risk management tool for Australian farmers and beekeepers 2012 | Beekeeping -Department of Entomology - PROTECTING HONEY BEES FROM PESTICIDES, Christian H. Krupke et al.; www.extension.purdue.edu | Safe Work Australia - Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS)
  • LAST UPDATE: 28/04/2018

  Health Associations

Mostly focused on Health Implications of Long Term Exposure to this substance

  • SYMPTOMS:
  • POSSIBLE HEALTH CONSEQUENCES: | Organic nitriles are converted into cyanide ions through the action of cytochrome P450 enzymes in the liver. Cyanide is rapidly absorbed and distributed throughout the body. Cyanide is mainly metabolized into thiocyanate by either rhodanese or 3-mercaptopyruvate sulfur transferase. Cyanide metabolites are excreted in the urine. (L96)
  • ACTION OF TOXIN: Organic nitriles decompose into cyanide ions both in vivo and in vitro. Consequently the primary mechanism of toxicity for organic nitriles is their production of toxic cyanide ions or hydrogen cyanide. Cyanide is an inhibitor of cytochrome c oxidase in the fourth complex of the electron transport chain (found in the membrane of the mitochondria of eukaryotic cells). It complexes with the ferric iron atom in this enzyme. The binding of cyanide to this cytochrome prevents transport of electrons from cytochrome c oxidase to oxygen. As a result, the electron transport chain is disrupted and the cell can no longer aerobically produce ATP for energy. Tissues that mainly depend on aerobic respiration, such as the central nervous system and the heart, are particularly affected. Cyanide is also known produce some of its toxic effects by binding to catalase, glutathione peroxidase, methemoglobin, hydroxocobalamin, phosphatase, tyrosinase, ascorbic acid oxidase, xanthine oxidase, succinic dehydrogenase, and Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase. Cyanide binds to the ferric ion of methemoglobin to form inactive cyanmethemoglobin. (L97) |
  • TOXIN SITES OF ACTION IN CELL: "Cytoplasm", "Extracellular"
  • Additional Exposure Routes: This white solid is widely used in agriculture and the production of pharmaceuticals and other organic compounds. It is also used as an alcohol deterrent drug in Canada, Europe and Japan. Calcium cyanamide or CaCN2 is a calcium compound used as fertilizer, first synthesized in 1898 by Adolph Frank and Nikodem Caro (Frank-Caro process).

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  Exposure Routes

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