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Poisonous Compounds/Chemical Analysis

Substance identification for poisonous or toxic compounds can be done from various sources such as fabric or clothing, solid or liquid materials such as pill or capsule, etc, or gasoline, antifreeze, etc.  

Compounds Analyzed and its associated physiological effects

1. Acetone - a metabolite of Isopropanol.  Acetone is found in nail polish  remover.

2. Cyanide - competitively binds to hemoglobin, a component of the red blood cell that transports oxygen from cell to cell.  

3. Ethylene Glycol - Antifreeze; this compound is used as an automobile coolant.  Unfortunately, some adventurous individual or alcoholics will indulge in this forbidden drink.  Ethylene Glycol may have hallucinogenic effects, in addition to the "buzz or drunkenness" feeling furnished from drinking beer, liquor, or wine.

4. Isopropanol - Rubbing alcohol can cause gastric disturbances or irritations.

5. Methanol (Wood Alcohol) - oxidized or metabolized to Formaldehyde, a common biological preservative that can cause blindness and/or death.  The most common and effective treatment is Ethanol (Ethyl Alcohol inducement), found in alcoholic beverages such as beer, liquor, or wine.

6. Sodium Hypochlorite (Bleach)

7. Ammonia (NH3) - common household cleaner found in window or glass cleaner such as Windex.

8. Heavy Metals

    Lead, Arsenic, and Mercury

9. Carbon Monoxide - deprives cellular oxygen

10. Acetaminophen - an analgesic drug found in over the counter medication such as Tylenol.  This is a common poison use by suicidal teenager.

11. Formaldehyde - this is a compound that is use as a biological preservative such as fetal pig, cats, etc. for dissection purposes in biology, anatomy classes, etc.  As mentioned above, formaldehyde is a byproduct of Methanol oxidation.    


Specimen Requirements

    Solids (powder, pill, fabric forms, etc) - 2 grams

    Liquids (water solution, blood, urine, liquid solution, fats, etc.) - 3 ml

Qualitative Only Analysis - once identified, an optional quantitative analysis can be done.  

    

Copyright 1999 [Toxicology Associates, Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: January 13, 2010