Carbon Disulfide

Carbon Disulfide Chemical formula
Synonyms: Carbon Bisulphide; Carbon Disulphide; Carbonei Sulfidum; Carboneum Bisulfuratum; Carboneum Sulfuratum; Disulfuro de carbono; Schwefelkohlenstoff; Węgla disiarczek.
Cyrillic synonym: Сероуглерод.

💊 Chemical information

Chemical formula: CS2 = 76.14.
CAS — 75-15-0.


Carbon disulfide is a clear, colourless, volatile, flammable liquid with a chloroform-like odour. Commercial grades have an unpleasant odour described by some as being reminiscent of decaying radishes. Wt per mL about 1.26 g. B.p. about 46°. Store in airtight containers.


The vapour of carbon disulfide when mixed with air in the proportions of 1 to 50% is highly explosive.

💊 Adverse Effects, Treatment, and Precautions

Carbon disulfide is irritant. Toxic effects may occur as a result of inhalation, ingestion, or absorption through the skin. Acute poisoning may result in gastrointestinal disturbances and euphoria, followed by CNS depression. Symptoms include headache, dizziness, mood changes, and in severe cases, manic psychoses, delirium, hallucinations, coma, convulsions, and death due to respiratory failure. Chronic poisoning has been associated with occupational exposure to carbon disulfide vapour for prolonged periods. It is characterised by peripheral neuropathies; CNS effects such as headache, fatigue, insomnia, tremor, emotional lability, extrapyramidal disorders, bipolar disorder, and encephalopathy; gastrointestinal effects including anorexia, dyspepsia, and ulcerative changes; and effects on the eye. Occupational exposure to carbon disulfide has been shown to be associated with an increased incidence of mortality from coronary heart disease. The action of carbon disulfide on endocrine function has resulted in menstrual irregularities, an increased incidence of spontaneous abortions and premature births, loss of libido, sperm abnormalities, and decreased serum-thyroxine concentrations; there is limited evidence of impaired glucose tolerance. Treatment consists of removal from exposure and general supportive and symptomatic measures. Gastric lavage should be avoided. Adrenaline and other sympathomimetics should also be avoided because of the risk of precipitating cardiac arrhythmias. Peripheral neuropathies may be only slowly reversible.
1. WHO. Carbon Disulfide. Environmental Health Criteri
10. Geneva: WHO, 1979. Available at: documents/ehc/ehc/ehc010.htm (accessed 29/06/04
2. WHO. Recommended health-based limits in occupational exposure to selected organic solvents. WHO Tech Rep Ser 664 1981. Available at: (accessed 03/09/08
3. Health and Safety Executive. Carbon disulphide. Toxicity Revie
3. London: HMSO, 1981
4. Beauchamp RO, et al. A critical review of the literature on carbon disulfide toxicity. Crit Rev Toxicol 1983; 11: 169–278.

Effects on endocrine function.

The effects of exposure to carbon disulfide were studied retrospectively in 265 female workers in the rayon industry exposed for at least 1 year, and 291 non-exposed female workers.1 Levels of exposure varied over the study period from 0.7 to 30.6 mg/m3. Women exposed to carbon disulfide had a higher risk of menstrual disturbances than non-exposed women. However, there was no difference between the 2 groups in incidence of toxaemia, emesis gravidarum, spontaneous abortion, premature or overdue delivery, or congenital malformation.
1. Zhou SY, et al. Effects of occupational exposure to low-level carbon disulfide (CS ) on menstruation and pregnancy. Ind Health 1988; 26: 203–14.

Effects on the heart.

An increased incidence of mortality from cardiovascular disease has been found in workers occupationally exposed to carbon disulfide.1-3 The evidence suggested that the risk decreases after cessation of exposure. However, the association has been critically reviewed.4
1. Nurminen M, Hernberg S. Effects of intervention on the cardiovascular mortality of workers exposed to carbon disulphide: a 15 year follow up. Br J Ind Med 1985; 42: 32–5
2. Sweetnam PM, et al. Exposure to carbon disulphide and ischaemic heart disease in a viscose rayon factory. Br J Ind Med 1987; 44: 220–7
3. MacMahon B, Monson RR. Mortality in the US rayon industry. J Occup Med 1988; 30: 698–705
4. Sulsky SI, et al. Critical review of the epidemiological literature on the potential cardiovascular effects of occupational carbon disulfide exposure. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 2002; 75: 365–80.


Suitable precautions should be taken to avoid skin contact with carbon disulfide as it can penetrate skin and produce systemic toxicity.

💊 Pharmacokinetics

Carbon disulfide is rapidly absorbed after inhalation and ingestion, and is also absorbed through intact skin. It is excreted unchanged through the lungs and in the urine mainly as metabolites.

💊 Uses

Carbon disulfide is used as an industrial solvent and has been used, in the vapour form, as an insecticide.
Published October 16, 2018.