Cyanide Poisoning: Signs and What Foods Contain It | The NY Journal


Most of the compounds that can be poisonous are common household chemicals like bleach and ammonia or easily available products such as antifreeze and rat poison, according to Toxicology Associates. Cyanide is among the common fast-acting and life-threatening poisons.

How cyanide works

The Cyanide prevents the body’s cells from using oxygen. With that cells die. Survivors of severe cyanide poisoning may suffer damage to the heart and brain since these organs use a lot of oxygen.

Where is cyanide found

Cyanide is a chemical that can exist in various forms. It is released from natural substances in some foods.

Cyanide is used to make paper, textiles, and plastics. Is present in the chemicals used to develop photographs. The cyanide salts are used for metal cleaning and gold mining.

Also they products to remove false nails made from acetonitrile can produce cyanide when the body metabolizes them.

Cigar smoke and when plastics are burned also give off cyanide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


You can be exposed to cyanide by breathing air, drinking water, eat food or touching land that contains cyanide. Breathing cyanide gas does the most damage, but Swallowing cyanide can also be toxic.

The extent of poisoning depends on the amount of cyanide and the time received.


Dizziness, headache, nausea, and vomiting, rapid breathing, rapid heart rate, restlessness and weakness.

Symptoms from exposure / consumption of cyanide in large quantities:

Convulsions, loss of consciousness, low blood pressure, lung injury, respiratory failure that leads to death and slow heart rate.

What to do in case of poisoning?

If you suspect that you are being poisoned, seek immediate medical attention. Cyanide poisoning is treated with antidotes and they are most useful if they are given as soon as possible. Poisoning is laboratory confirmed.

Save any food or drink that you think may contain the poisonous chemical so that those samples can also be tested.

Cyanide foods

Photo: Pixabay / Pexels

Prunus fruit seeds

The amygdalin is a substance found in the fruit grains of Prunus species – such as plum, cherries, peach and apricot or apricot– which produces hydrogen cyanide after ingestion. When ingested in sufficient quantities, they cause cyanide poisoning.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) notes eating more than three small raw apricot kernels, or less than half a large kernel, can exceed safe levels.

Yucca or cassava

Cassava should never be eaten raw. The tuber contains substances that release hydrogen cyanide. There is a sweet variety and a bitter variety. The largest amount of poisonous substances is found in the bitter yucca, not only in the skin of the tuber, but in its meat.


The bitter almonds are not safe to eat as they contain amygdalin which breaks down into hydrogen cyanide. Bitter almonds contain 50 times more cyanide per kilogram than sweet almonds, according to laboratory toxicology studies. Eat 50 bitter almonds can be deadly.

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