What is Toxicology
Forensic Toxicology is used mostly to determine the cause of death of the victim. Without Toxicology we wouldn’t be able to identify the poisons and drugs present in the human body at time of death. There are many different tests to show the different types of poisons in the body but one is used first to show if there is any poisons in the body at all. This test is called a screening test. The samples from the body that are examined are from the liver, brain, kidney, bile, vitreous humor, blood, urine, stomach contents, and hair. They test for drugs of abuse such as methamphetamine, amphetamines, barbiturates, cannabinoids, benzodiazepines, cocaine metabolites, methadone, opiates, phencyclidine, trycyclic antidepressants, acetaminophen, phenytoin, salicylates. The use of gas chromatograph mass spectrometers is to confirm drugs identified instead of a standard mass spectrum derived from appropriate pure controls. Toxicology is very important in Forensic science and solving a crime.
HISTORY of TOXICOLOGY
Forensic Toxicology was first used (recorded) in the nineteenth century. First nations have been studying poisonous plant extracts for 1000s of years. Mathieu Orfila wrote the first toxicology book “Traite Des Poisons” in 1814 which was about poisons that were well-liked by criminals. Another development was in 1836 when Albert Swaine published a textbook called “Elements of Medical Jurisprudence”, this book was the first textbook written about the theory of Forensic Toxicology. The same year an English chemist named James Marsh discovered an accurate way to find arsenic in the body, which is the basis of what we use today.
Toxicology at the Crime Scene
Since Toxicology is poisons and drugs found within the human body the body is what is collected at the crime scene.