Arsine

(USAN)

Chemical information

Arsenic Trihydride; Arsina; Hydrogen Arsenide.
Chemical formula: AsH3 = 77.95.
CAS — 7784-42-1.

Profile

Arsine is a heavy colourless gas with a garlic-like odour, which has no clinical uses but is an environmental or occupational hazard. It is highly toxic and causes severe haemolysis which may result in acute renal failure. It is potentially toxic below the odour threshold of 0.5 ppm and dangerously toxic after exposure to as little as 3 ppm; there may be a latent period of up to 24 hours following exposure before symptoms develop. Symptoms of arsine gas poisoning include generalised weakness, muscle cramps, thirst, headache, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, anorexia, jaundice, bronze skin coloration, haemolytic anaemia, haematuria, oliguria, and anuria. Pulmonary oedema, ECG abnormalities, and neurological disorders have also been reported. Treatment involves exchange transfusions and haemodialysis; dimercaprol and other chelating agents have been used but are of no value in the acute stage and do not prevent haemolysis.
1. Fowler BA, Weissberg JB. Arsine poisoning. N Engl J Med 1974; 291: 1171–4
2. Hesdorffer CS, et al. Arsine gas poisoning: the importance of exchange transfusions in severe cases. Br J Ind Med 1986; 43: 353–5
3. Rael LT, et al. The effects of sulfur, thiol, and thiol inhibitor compounds on arsine-induced toxicity in the human erythrocyte membrane. Toxicol Sci 2000; 55: 468–77.
Published December 29, 2018.