Detection of carbon disulfide in breath and air: a possible new risk factor for coronary artery disease

  • Michael Phillips


Carbon disulfide (CS2) is toxic to the heart and arteries; chronic exposure can result in accelerated atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease in humans and animals. Exposure to CS2 was investigated in normal volunteers working in New York City, using a new and highly sensitive assay. Volatile organic compounds in breath and air were captured in adsorbent traps containing graphitized carbon and molecular sieve, then thermally desorbed, concentrated by two-stage cryofocusing, and assayed for CS2 by gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy. Breath CS2 assays were performed in 42 normal volunteers, as well as in room air and in outdoor air collected at sites in and around New York City. The assay was linear, reproducible, and sensitive to picomolar (10−12 mol/l) quantities. CSZ was detected in all samples of breath and indoor and outdoor air (mean concentrations were 5.25 pmol/l, SD = 3.89 in breath, 8.26 pmol/l in indoor air, and 3.92 pmol/l in outdoor air) (NS). The alveolar CS2 gradient (alveolar — inspired CS2) ranged from −20.0 to 8.0 nmol/l, separating subjects into either “excreters” or “retainers” of CS2. In view of the known toxicity of CS2, atmospheric pollution with CS2 merits attention as a possible new risk factor for the development of accelerated atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease.

Key words

Air assays Atherosclerosis Breath assays Carbon disulfide Coronary artery disease 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Phillips
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MedicineSt. Vincent's Medical Center of RichmondStaten IslandUSA

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