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Toxicology: Poisons and Alcohol. Toxicology Toxicology—the study of the adverse effects of chemicals or physical agents on living organisms Types: Environmental—air,

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Presentation on theme: "Toxicology: Poisons and Alcohol. Toxicology Toxicology—the study of the adverse effects of chemicals or physical agents on living organisms Types: Environmental—air,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Toxicology: Poisons and Alcohol

2 Toxicology Toxicology—the study of the adverse effects of chemicals or physical agents on living organisms Types: Environmental—air, water, soil Consumer—foods, cosmetics, drugs Medical, clinical, forensic

3 Forensic Toxicology Postmortem—medical examiner or coroner Criminal—motor vehicle accidents (MVA) Workplace—drug testing Sports—human and animal Environment—industrial, catastrophic, terrorism

4 Toxic substances may: Be a cause of death Contribute to death Cause impairment Explain behavior

5 Historical Poisoners Olympias—a famous Greek poisoner Locusta—personal poisoner of Emperor Nero Lucretia Borgia—father was Pope Alexander VI Madame Giulia Toffana—committed over 600 successful poisonings, including two popes Hieronyma Spara—formed a society to teach women how to murder their husbands Madame de Brinvilliers and Catherine Deshayes— French poisoners AND many others through modern times.

6 Mathieu Orfila—known as the father of forensic toxicology, published in 1814 Traité des poisons which described the first systematic approach to the study of the chemistry and physiological nature of poisons

7 Aspects of Toxicity 1. Dosage 2. The chemical or physical form of the substance 3. The mode of entry into the body 4. Body weight and physiological conditions of the victim, including age and sex 5. The time period of exposure 6. The presence of other chemicals in the body or in the dose

8 Lethal Dose LD 50 refers to the dose of a substance that kills half the test population, usually within four hours Expressed in milligrams of substance per kilogram of body weight

9 Toxicity Classification

10 Federal Regulatory Agencies Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Consumer Product Safety Commission Department of Transportation (DOT) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

11 Symptoms of Various Types of Poisoning Type of Poison Symptom/Evidence Caustic poison (lye) Characteristic burns around the lips and mouth of victim Carbon monoxide Red or pink patches on the chest and thigh, unusually bright red lividity Sulfuric acid Black vomit Hydrochloric acid Greenish-brown vomit Nitric acid Yellow vomit Phosphorus Coffee-brown vomit, onion or garlic odor Cyanide Burnt almond odor Arsenic, mercury Extreme diarrhea Methyl (wood) or isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol Nausea and vomiting, unconsciousness possibly blindness

12 Critical Information Form Common color Characteristic odor Solubility Taste Common sources Lethal dose Mechanism Possible methods of administration Time interval of onset of symptoms Symptoms resulting from an acute exposure Symptoms resulting from chronic exposure Disease states mimicked by poisoning Notes relating to the victim Specimens from victim Analytical detection methods Known toxic levels Notes pertinent to analysis of poison List of cases in which poison was used

13 Human Specimens for Analysis Blood Urine Vitreous humor of eyes Bile Gastric contents Liver tissue Brain tissue Kidney tissue Hair/nails

14 Alcohol—Ethyl Alcohol (C2H5OH) Most abused drug in America About 40 percent of all traffic deaths are alcohol-related Toxic—affecting the central nervous system, especially the brain Colorless liquid, generally diluted in water Acts as a depressant Alcohol appears in blood within minutes of consumption; 30–90 minutes for full absorption Detoxification—about 90 percent in the liver About 5 percent is excreted unchanged in breath, perspiration, and urine

15 Rate of Absorption of Alcohol Depends on: Amount of alcohol consumed The alcohol content of the beverage Time taken to consume it Quantity and type of food present in the stomach Physiology of the consumer

16 BAC: Blood Alcohol Content Expressed as percent weight per volume of blood Legal limit in all states is 0.08 percent Parameters influencing BAC: Body weight Alcohol content Number of beverages consumed Time since consumption

17 BAC Calculation Burn-off rate of percent per hour, but can vary: Male BAC = Female BAC =  (oz)  (% alcohol) body weight  (oz)  (% alcohol) body weight

18 Field Tests Preliminary tests—used to determine the degree of suspect’s physical impairment and whether or not another test is justified Psychophysical tests—three basic tests: Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN): follow a pen or small flashlight, tracking left to right with one’s eyes. In general, wavering at 45 degrees indicates 0.10 BAC. Nine-step walk and turn (WAT): comprehend and execute two or more simple instructions at one time One-leg stand (OLS): maintain balance; comprehend and execute two or more simple instructions at one time


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