Carbon disulfide

Agent Name
Carbon disulfide
CAS Number
Major Category
Carbon bisulfide; Carbon disulphide; Carbon bisulphide; Carbon bisulfur; Dithiocarbonic anhydride; Carbon sulfide; Sulphocarbonic anhydride; Weeviltox; [ACGIH]
Other Solvents
Colorless to faint-yellow liquid with a sweet ether-like odor. [Note: Reagent grades are foul smelling.] [NIOSH]
Carbon disulfide is used to manufacture rayon. It was used as a grain fumigant. In the production of viscous rayon, heavy occupational exposures may occur during the opening of spinning machines and while cutting and drying. [LaDou, p. 497] Also used to produce other chemicals, to manufacture electronic vacuum tubes, and as a solvent for resins, fats, oils, waxes, and other chemicals; [ACGIH] Also used in metal cleaning and plating, in instant color photography, in corrosion inhibitors, in veterinary anthelmintic drugs, and to fumigate spaces and materials; [Sullivan, p. 1207]
Liquid causes first degree burns on short exposure; [CHRIS] Carbon disulfide has good warning properties; its vapor is heavier than air. Elevation of liver function tests has been reported after acute exposure. [LaDou, p. 497-8] It can cause both acute and chronic encephalopathy. Alice Hamilton described in the 1920s two cases, "one of slowly developing paralysis of the legs, the other of rapidly developing manic-depressive insanity." [Hamilton A. Exploring the Dangerous Trades. Beverly, MA: OEM Press, 1995, p. 389] There is limited evidence that CS2 can increase spontaneous abortion in humans and birth defects in animals. There is also evidence that CS2 can decrease sperm counts in experimental animals and reduce libido in exposed workers. [Frazier, p. 171-2] The risk of death from coronary heart disease was increased 2.5 to 5 fold in a studies of viscose rayon workers. [NIOSH Guidelines for Chemical Hazards] Viscous rayon workers suffered retinal hemorrhages and microvascular aneurysms. Optic nerve damage was also seen after heavy acute or chronic exposure. [Sullivan, p. 1209] Vigliani studied over 380 cases in Italy that occurred in the decades prior to 1953. He concluded that chronic exposure to at least 45 ppm was necessary to cause intoxication. [ACGIH] Heavy, chronic exposure to CS2 is associated with kidney disease as a secondary effect from the accelerated atherosclerosis. [LaDou, p. 423] See "No evidence of cardiovascular toxicity in workers exposed below 5 ppm carbon disulfide." [PMID 26940896]
Use as a grain fumigant was voluntarily cancelled in the US in 1985; [ATSDR ToxFAQs]
Biomedical References

Exposure Assessment

TTCA in urine = 0.5 mg/g creatinine; sample at end of shift; [ACGIH]
Skin Designation (ACGIH)
1 ppm
20 ppm, Ceiling(OSHA) = 30 ppm (100 ppm for 30-min peak per 8-hr shift)
5 ppm
500 ppm
Excerpts from Documentation for IDLHs
Other human data: Symptoms have occurred after 30 minutes of exposure to concentrations ranging from 420 to 510 ppm while exposure to 4,800 ppm for 30 minutes causes coma and may be fatal [Flury and Zernik 1931]. Severe symptoms and unconsciousness may occur within 30 minutes at 1,100 ppm [Patty 1963]. It has been reported that 760 ppm causes an immediate headache that lasts for hours [Browning 1953]. It has also been reported that minor symptoms are induced after several hours of exposure to 300 ppm, distinct signs of poisoning at 400 ppm, severe poisoning after 30 minutes at 1,150 ppm, and life­threatening health effects at 3,200 to 3,800 ppm [Bittersohl et al. 1972]. It has been reported that exposure at 2,000 to 3,300 ppm leads to narcosis in 30 minutes, and death occurs after 30 to 60 minutes of exposure at 5,000 ppm [Paluch 1954].
Vapor Pressure
395 mm Hg
Odor Threshold Low
0.01 ppm
Odor Threshold High
0.42 ppm
Lethal Concentration
LC50 (rat) = 25,000 mg/m3/2H
Explanatory Notes
Odor threshold from AIHA; National Research Council [NRC 1984] Emergency Exposure Guidance Levels (EEGLs): 10 minute EEGL = 200 ppm; 30 minute EEGL = 100 ppm; 60 minute EEGL = 50 ppm;
Half Life
Blood (CS2): 1-2 hours; Urine (TTCA): 5 hours; [TDR, p. 275]
Reference Link #2
burn readily
1 ppm
50 ppm
500 ppm

Adverse Effects

Hepatoxic (a) from occupational exposure (secondary effect) or (b) in animal studies or in humans after ingestion
Reproductive Toxin
Skin burns
ACGIH Carcinogen
Not Classifiable

Diseases, Processes, and Activities Linked to This Agent