I recommend the name of the chemical be changed. Only thus will the mining industry be able to avoid the lurid and spectacular connotations associated with the word cyanide that arise from news items like these:

· “PublishAmerica is proud to present Champagne and Cyanide by Elizabethton, Tennessee’s Sherry D. Honeycutt. This masterfully written collection of poems deals with love in its most pure and raw forms, from the thrill of a kiss, and the joys of true love, to the heartbreak of lost love, and everything that lies in between. Each word that resides within this book’s covers was crafted from the most profound depths of a heart that has personally experienced the full range and….” (at which point the text peters out…maybe too much cyanide?)

· “A Federal judge in Detroit overturned a magistrate's decision to release on bond a man who was arrested at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Authorities say Sisayehiticha Dinssa was found carrying nearly $79,000 in cash and a computer containing information about nuclear materials and cyanide. Dinssa is an unemployed US citizen born in Ethiopia. He was arrested November 14th after a dog caught the scent of narcotics on cash he was carrying.” (see more at Blogs of War)

· “A university toxicology lecturer swallowed cyanide in front of his fiancé, an inquest heard. Father-of-two Dr Francis Charles Manning began to choke and gasp for air when he swallowed the deadly poison at his West Kirby home. His partner Sara Routledge, who believed he had taken painkillers, tried frantically to resuscitate him but he was later pronounced dead at Arrowe Park Hospital.”

· “Thiruvananthapuram: The police suspect cyanide or carbon monoxide poisoning could have caused the deaths of the three youngsters whose putrefied bodies were found in the garage of a house near Holy Angels convent on Friday. A near empty bottle of liquor, glasses and snacks were found in the garage, which was locked from within. An official said the garage could be suffocating if both the doors were closed. The police suspect the car's engine could have been running for a long time to generate lethal levels of carbon monoxide. A senior official, quoting forensic doctors who conducted the post mortem examination, said that soot was found inside the lungs of the deceased persons.”

· “Polonium 210 is one of the most toxic substances known to man, with a particle the size of a speck of dust enough to cause the sort of slow, agonizing death suffered by Alexander Litvinenko. Weight for weight, the rare radioactive isotope is 250 billion times more toxic than cyanide, and more than a billion times more radioactive than uranium.”

Seems as though cyanide is the baseline measure of deadliness—with radioactivity being only a few billion or so more deadly. And then of course any death may involve cyanide—even one involving running cars in sealed garages and soot in the lungs. Maybe journalists feel there is just an extra frisson in their story if you throw in the word “cyanide” even if it has no earthy reason for being there.