Cyanide Standards for Quality Control (QC)
Cyanide is a complex chemical that exists in various states throughout nature, encompassing a wide range of substances containing carbon-nitrogen bonds. It has been made famous by endless spy novels and war movies as an eponymous poisoning agent, which reacts rapidly in the body with fatal results. Reality, of course, is more complicated than fiction.
In this article, Inorganic Ventures explores the hazards of cyanide with a focus on the use of cyanide standards for controlling the quality of potable water and in environmental studies.
Cyanide Standards: Where Do Cyanides Enter the Environment?
Some cyanides are present in the food we eat, although strict cyanide standards are imposed by international and regional regulators to ensure that concentrations never exceed safe levels of consumption. Almonds, for instance, contain a naturally-occurring cyanogenic glycoside known as amygdalin which breaks down into cyanide when consumed. Centuries of domestication have enabled farmers to dramatically reduce the amount of amygdalin present in their crops to ensure they are safe to eat. Naturally-occurring cyanides like this typically pose few issues to consumers.
Regulators are primarily concerned with manmade cyanides that enter ecosystems through industrial runoff. Iron and steel plants, landfills, metal mining processes, organic chemistry, wastewater treatment facilities, and more have been known to discharge process water and waste into the environment. Studies have offered inconclusive insights into how cyanides break down/build-up in different biospheres, with ongoing investigations into the effects of cyanide contamination on various soil microbes. Cyanide standards can be used to supplement such environmental toxicology screenings.
One of the main risk factors associated with industrial runoff is the potential for drinking water contamination. Typically, the concentration of cyanide in sources of drinking water ranges from 0.001 – 0.011 parts per million (ppm). In the absence of conclusive data regarding the risks of contamination from industrial processes, manufacturers typically use cyanide standards to assess the quality of potable water against safe levels mandated by bodies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Cyanide Standards from Inorganic Ventures
At Inorganic Ventures, we develop and supply a wide-range of NIST-traceable certified reference materials (CRMs) for developers and manufacturers in a wide range of fields. Our cyanide standards are engineered in-line with EPA certifications to ensure both regulatory compliance and consumer safety when it comes to testing the quality of drinking water.