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Cyanide and Hydrogen Sulfide: a review of two blood gases, their environmental sources, and potential risks

Rubright, Samantha (2017) Cyanide and Hydrogen Sulfide: a review of two blood gases, their environmental sources, and potential risks. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The uncontrolled releases of blood gases have been to blame for historic public health catastrophes, but they also play vital roles in modern day industrial processes and within the body. Cyanide, specifically hydrogen cyanide (HCN), and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) are two such blood gases of interest. Accurate assessments of the risks each pose are essential to capitalizing on their positive contributions to society and preventing further incidents. While these two compounds have been studied for many years, new research is shedding light on their potential sources, emission rates, risks, and antidotal mechanisms; emerging science centered on the endogenous role of H2S has enthused many researchers regarding the potential application of this blood gas in preventing or treating maladies, yet caution must be exercised in such endeavors as we still do not fully understand the mechanisms by which H2S is toxic to humans. Recent studies have pointed to the risk of exposure to elevated levels of cyanide in foods, but also from anthropogenic sources such as fire smoke, marijuana smoke, and releases from mining sites. This study reviews recent literature surrounding H2S and cyanide sources and human health effects, including discussions on their sources, emission rates, and mechanisms of toxicity, in order to better understand their public health significance. Finally, recommendations for better management of these two blood gases to reduce risk are presented, including remarks on systematic air monitoring and antidote needs, public health preparedness considerations, and the potential risks that hydrogen sulfide and cyanide pose on a global scale.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Rubright, Samanthaslm75@pitt.eduSLM750000-0002-7536-0575
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairPeterson, Jamesjimmyp@pitt.eduJIMMYP
Committee MemberPearce, Lindalip10@pitt.eduLIP10
Committee MemberSharma, Ravirks1946@pitt.eduRKS1946
Committee MemberPitt, Brucebrucep@pitt.eduBRUCEP
Date: 24 February 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 30 September 2016
Approval Date: 24 February 2017
Submission Date: 2 November 2016
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 142
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Environmental and Occupational Health
Degree: DrPH - Doctor of Public Health
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: hydrogen sulfide, H2S, sulfide, cyanide, hydrogen cyanide, environment, toxicity, blood gases, risk, public health, HCN
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2017 20:39
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2017 06:15


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