Understanding Forensic Toxicology and Toxic Tort

Any lawsuit that involves harm received by a person from another person or entity via exposure to hazardous chemicals can be considered as toxic tort. For instance: if a certain community experiences a widespread sickness due to alleged improper waste disposal by a nearby factory, the community can file a toxic tort case against the source. As a paralegal of your law firm, you should familiarize yourself with the tasks involved when handling such cases. Continue reading


Forensic Toxicology On Making Sense of Substance Abuse At the Wheel

The toxicology data gathered during tests of a DUI suspect matter the most to prosecutors who may think the suspect committed other acts as a segue to the original offense. The substances found in the suspect’s bloodstream will also provide more clues regarding their mental state. For instance, Bieber admitted that he smoked a joint at a recording studio before the arrest, but the source of the marijuana is not yet known.

A skilled forensic toxicologist like Dr. Brautbar has an array of other skills to further shed light on any vague facts of the case. These include making recommendations to case handlers on further angles to pursuing and examining patients, as well as establishing cause and effect using all evidence at hand.

Research May Help in Forensic Toxicology in Identifying Heroin Abuse

“These findings can be of big help in the field of forensic toxicology as well as in other industries that need accurate drug results for various purposes. While there are some claims that poppy seed ingestion does not make false-positive results in hair tests, forensic specialists have doubts as to its accuracy. This is why urinalysis remains the top choice when it comes to detecting substance use.

Should the study regarding the use of marker for street heroin prove successful, a forensic toxicologist will be able to provide an expert opinion regarding a person’s heroin use based on the chemicals found on the urine sample.”

Voices in Your Head: The Role Hair Can Play in Forensic Toxicology

As efficient as it may be, hair can be quite a challenge in forensic labs, particularly because there are so many factors that affect the success rate of of obtaining a DNA sample. For instance, the chemicals that have been mixed into the hair as a result of dyeing can alter the cuticles, and can even contribute to the degradation of hair DNA.

An efficient forensic toxicologist, like one from Environmental Diseases, works with many body samples like hair, skin, blood, and other bodily fluids so as to render an accurate opinion on the diseases, poisons, drug use or other medical conditions. These experts are often called upon by courts to stand as witnesses for criminal cases.

Forensic Toxicology: Bits of Its History

Forensic toxicology is the practice of applying toxicology in relation to the law. The study of toxic substances and poisons began in the early 1800s, but different kinds of poisons have already been existing for thousands of years. In fact, research on ancient Greek and Egyptian civilizations has proved that poisoning was already practiced during the time, often with the use of herbs and certain plants.

M.J.B. Orfila, Chairman of the Legal Medicine Department at Sorbonne in France, was the first to make an attempt to study and categorize poisons in 1814. Then in 1851, Jean Servais Stas has developed the first method to effectively extract alkaloids from biological specimens. This method was modified by F.J. Otto a couple of years later, and was later called the Stas-Otto method, which is still used as the basis for drug extraction to this day.

However, forensic toxicology became known in the US only in the beginning of the 20th century through Charles Morris who replaced the coroner system to a medical examiner system in New York. Alexander Gettler, the very first forensic toxicologist in the US, directed a laboratory in the Medical Examiner’s Office for 41 years.

It was because of the popularity of alcohol that an analytical method, which was used to study the pharmacokinetics of the said substance, was developed by Maurice Nicloux and Erik Widmark. They developed a formula that related the body weight, blood alcohol concentration, and the amount of alcohol consumed.

How Forensic Toxicology Professionals Can Help Victims Seek Justice

A toxicology report by a third expert indicated that Blumenschein’s acute severe metabolic acidosis “more likely than not” was due to ethylene glycol poisoning.
Thankfully, the victim in this particular case survived, and his testimony against the accused can count as a vital piece of evidence. However, what about those victims who weren’t able to survive similar atrocities done to them? In these cases, their families and loved ones can rely on expert forensic toxicology practitioners in their fight for justice.
A highly qualified forensic toxicologist like Dr. Nachman Brautbar thoroughly examines every piece of evidence obtained from crime scenes for poisons, such as hair, fibers, and blood using state-of-the-art equipment. Unlike in TV shows, the process of scrutinizing them is meticulous so that nothing is missed and accurate results are produced. Afterward, they can provide an unbiased and comprehensive report of their findings.

How Forensic Toxicology Can Help Solve Crimes Using Only Hair Strands

“Hair analysis isn’t really a new method in forensic toxicology. Its first recorded use was in the 1850s when a case was solved because of traces of arsenic found in the hair of the corpse that was exhumed 11 years after the time of death. However, there are a host of chemicals that human hair is exposed to these days, especially from cosmetic products. To prevent these chemicals from affecting the findings, professionals in the field usually take them into account when interpreting the results.

Even then, toxicology testings can take a long time due to various reasons, like specimen quality and the nature of the chemicals to be tested. There is also the simple fact that working with hair strands is very different from analyzing urine and blood samples.

A competent forensic toxicologist such as Dr. Nachman Brautbar are needed now more than ever as technology improves and crimes become more complex. More than being able to perform drug testing, their expertise is needed in showi