Distilling Chemical Evidence

Most people do not completely understand the way poisons, drugs, and other toxic substances interact with living things. As such, when chemical evidence is brought before the courts, a toxicology expert is sometimes necessary to dispense knowledge and distill information about such chemicals so that they can support or rebuff a case.

Toxicology expert witnesses assist in exposing, explaining, and questioning the clues associated with toxic substances. Their typical functions include:

  • Clarifying and/or asserting the value, or lack thereof, of a chemical test exhibited to the court for admission as evidence.

  • If necessary, providing their own chemical test results to dispute the admissibility of a previously exhibited chemical test.

  • Asserting the validity or invalidity of any type of chemical evidence presented to court based on factors such as reactivity, decomposition rates, toxicity thresholds, and many others.

  • Studying the effects of mixing certain chemicals, determining the toxicity of chemical mixtures, and presenting these findings in court.

  • Identifying the route of exposure of a toxic chemical and correlating the typical symptoms of such exposure with the symptoms exhibited by a victim or victims.

  • Providing concrete information on the long-term effects of a toxic chemical to an individual to serve as a basis for estimating damages in a civil case.

  • Presenting studies on the health effects of long-term exposure to certain chemicals (especially those considered generally safe) and/or determining environmental factors that might contribute or detract from the toxicity of such chemicals.


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