Calcium Cyanide

From Cargo Handbook - the world's largest cargo transport guidelines website


Calcium cyanide also known as black cyanide, is an inorganic compound with the formula Ca(CN) 2. Under normal conditions it appears as white powder or crystals, or black-gray or powder. It is the calcium salt of hydrogen cyanide. It gives off the characteristic odor of bitter almonds typical of cyanide. It hydrolyses readily (even on moist air) and releases hydrogen cyanide. Like other similar cyanides it is very toxic especially through skin adsorption through open wounds, by ingestion, and by inhalation.


Used as a fertilizer, as a pesticide and for hardening iron and steel.

Shipment / Storage

  • The product is usually shipped in bags or drums. It is very toxic.
  • Storage : Keep tightly closed in a dry, well-ventilated place.

Risk Factors

Calcium Cyanide decomposes in water, giving off ammonia and acetylene, with attendant fire risk. Acts as a skin irritant. Cases have occurred in the past of bags exploding without evidence of external interference.

Reference is made to the relevant IMO regulations on hazardous cargo. See also MSDS sheet(s).