Carbon disulfide is neurotoxic and is identified as a reproductive and developmental toxicant by authoritative sources.
Evidence comes from laboratory animal testing as well as supportive data from epidemiological studies of workplace exposures in men and women.
Carbon disulfide is a colorless, flammable, poisonous liquid, CS2. It is used as a solvent, and is a counterirritant and has local anesthetic properties but is not used as such. It is highly toxic with pronounced CNS, hematologic, and dermatologic effects.
Carbon disulfide is found in kohlrabi. Obsolete fumigant against insects in stored grain and potatoes.
Exposure to carbon disulfide occurs mainly in the workplace. Acute (short-term) inhalation exposure of humans to carbon disulfide has caused changes in breathing and chest pains. Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, headache, mood changes, lethargy, blurred vision, delirium, and convulsions have also been reported in humans acutely exposed by inhalation. Neurologic effects, including behavioral and neurophysiological changes, have been observed in chronic (long-term) human and animal inhalation studies. Reproductive effects, such as decreased sperm count and menstrual disturbances, have been observed in humans exposed to carbon disulfide by inhalation. Animal studies support these findings. EPA has not classified carbon disulfide for human carcinogenicity.
How can carbon disulfide affect children?
Carbon disulfide itself can be measured in breath, urine, and blood. It breaks down in the body into other chemical substances called metabolites. These substances can be found and measured in the urine. After carbon disulfide enters your body, these substances reach higher levels than normally found. One chemical test using urine can be done to tell whether the levels of these breakdown substances from carbon disulfide are higher than normal. This test requires special equipment and is not routinely available in a doctor’s office. The test is not specific for carbon disulfide exposure because other chemicals can also produce these metabolites. Therefore, it cannot be used to find out exactly how much carbon disulfide you were exposed to or to predict whether you’ll be harmed. Also, the test can only be used if you have breathed in at least 16 ppm; this test can be used for determining longer term exposure to carbon disulfide. A second test based on a specific metabolite is more sensitive and specific. It also requires special equipment and cannot tell you exactly how much carbon disulfide you were exposed to or predict whether you’ll be harmed. Carbon disulfide leaves the body quickly in the breath and in the urine.
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