Agent Name

Nicotine

CAS Number

54-11-5

Formula

C10-H14-N2

Major Category

Biological Agents

Synonyms

3-(1-Methyl-2-pyrrolidyl)pyridine, (S)-; [NIOSH] Black Leaf 40; [Olson, p. 298]

Category

Plant Toxins

Description

Pale-yellow to dark-brown liquid with a fish-like odor when warm. [insecticide] [NIOSH]

Sources/Uses

Used in medicine and as an insecticide; [ACGIH] Used in pesticides, e.g., Black Leaf 40 that contains 40% nicotine sulfate; Other alkaloids similar to nicotine produced by plants are anabasine, cytisine, coniine, and lobeline. [Olson, p. 298]

Comments

The use of nicotine as an insecticide was popular in the 1920s and 1930s when cases of occupational poisoning were reported. Lethal effects are due to a curare-like respiratory arrest. [ACGIH] Symptoms of mild poisoning are nausea and vomiting. The cholinergic syndrome (diarrhea, increased salivation and respiratory secretions, and bradycardia) is seen in more severe poisoning. Seizures and respiratory depression are rare complications of severe poisoning. Green tobacco sickness due to skin absorption of nicotine has been described in workers who handle tobacco. [Ford, p. 985]

Reference Link

Detection of green tobacco sickness by a regional poison center.

Exposure Assessment
Skin Designation (ACGIH)

Yes

TLV (ACGIH)

0.5 mg/m3

PEL (OSHA)

0.5 mg/m3

IDLH (NIOSH)

5 mg/m3

Excerpts from Documentation for IDLHs

Human data: The fatal human dose has been estimated to be about 50 to 60 mg [Lazutka et al. 1969]. [Note: An oral dose of 50 to 60 mg/kg is equivalent to a 70kg worker being exposed to about 30 to 40 mg/m3 for 30 minutes, assuming a breathing rate of 50 liters per minute and 100% absorption.

Vapor Pressure

0.08 mm Hg

Reference Link

EPA Pesticide Chemical Search

Flammability (NFPA)

1: Must be preheated

Adverse Effects
Neurotoxin

Other CNS Neurotoxin

Links to Other NLM Databases
Health Studies

Human Health Effects from Hazardous Substances Data Bank:

Toxicity Information

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Chemical Information

Search ChemIDplus

Biomedical References

Search PubMed

Related Information in HazMap
Activities

Activities with risk of exposure: