Carbon disulfide exposure is most common in the workplace. Carbon disulfide is an odorless, colorless liquid with a pleasant aroma. Carbon disulfide can infiltrate the body through inhalation of air, and ingestion of water or edibles. You can also be exposed through cutaneous contact with soil, water, and other contaminated substances.

Carbon disulfide may enter the atmosphere by evaporation and as a byproduct of numerous industrial operations. It is unknown how long carbon disulfide remains in the atmosphere. Estimates vary between one and ten weeks. Workers at plants that employ carbon disulfide in their production processes are the persons who are most often exposed to it.


Carbon disulfide exposure might induce the following symptoms:

  • Dizziness
  • Poor sleep
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss
  • Eyesight abnormalities.

It may affect the heart, blood, skin, liver, kidneys, and nerves. The time, dosage, and kind of task done all influence the degree of exposure.


The diagnosis is based on the exposure history and the presence of clinical symptoms. In acute ingestive poisoning, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort may be followed by headache, euphoria, hallucinations, manic delirium, dyspnea, cyanosis, peripheral vascular collapse, convulsions, and coma.

Carbon disulfide can be measured in blood, urine, and exhalation, but this information is not relevant for toxicity management. Dithiocarbamate (DTS) in urine can also be measured.

Sensory and motor neuropathy, neuropsychiatric alterations, parkinsonism, renal and hepatic injury, sleep disturbance, fatigue, anorexia, and weight loss are diagnostic indicators of chronic occupational exposure.


There currently is no known antidote. As needed, provide symptomatic and supportive care.

To treat carbon disulfide exposure, you must do the following:

  • If carbon disulfide is inhaled, the patient should be transferred to an area with fresh air.
  • Do not induce vomiting in situations of ingestion.
  • If the poison was recently consumed, do stomach aspiration or lavage.
  • Soap and water should be used to clean infected skin.
  • Irrigate infected eyes with plenty of water.
  • Support breathing, provide oxygen, and monitor cardiovascular function in cases of severe poisoning.

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