The main route of absorption for carbon disulphide is inhalation, however, it is also readily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract as evidenced by clinical effects following ingestion (Foreman et al., 1886; Yamada, 1977). Carbon disulphide may be absorbed through the skin as a vapour or liquid (Coppock and Buck, 1981).

There is considerable variation between individuals, but absorption seems to be proportional to the concentration of carbon disulphide in the inhaled air. Equilibrium between the carbon disulphide concentration of inhaled and exhaled air is reached within 1-2 hours. Equilibrium after inhalation takes 60-120 minutes. However, it varies with the carbon disulphide concentration inhaled (Coppock and Buck, 1981). At this point the percentage retained is approximately 40-50%, and carbon disulphide is then distributed in the organism by the bloodstream, where twice as much is taken up by the erythrocytes as by the plasma (WHO, 1979).

Carbon disulphide is readily absorbed by inhalation, at exposure concentrations of 17-30 ppm - at least 80% of an inhaled dose is absorbed during the first 15 minutes of exposure. After 30 minutes the concentration absorbed drops to approximately 55% (Teisenger and Soucek, 1949; Davidson and Feinleib, 1972, Beauchamp et al., 1983; Coppock and Buck, 1981). Pulmonary absorption increases with physical activity, however the percentage of inhaled carbon disulphide retained decreases as the blood and tissues become saturated (Teisinger and Soucek, 1949).

The rate of absorption of carbon disulphide from the gastrointestinal tract is not known but from the limited clinical evidence it appears to be rapid (Foreman, 1886).

Workers exposed to an average carbon disulphide level of 10 ppm had acid-labile blood concentrations of 332.6 |g/l (Campbell et al., 1985).

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