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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 221677 Find in a Library
Title: Relationship of Methanol and Formate Concentrations in Fatalities Where Methanol Is Detected
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:52  Issue:6  Dated:November 2007  Pages:1376-1382
Author(s): Graham R. Jones Ph.D.; Peter P. Singer Ph.D.; Katherine Rittenbach B.A.
Date Published: November 2007
Page Count: 7
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study shows the high correlation of formate (formic acid) concentrations in blood or vitreous humor in fatal methanol poisoning cases, unlike methanol concentrations alone.
Abstract: In the 153 postmortem cases in which methanol was detected, the presence of formate concentrations greater than 0.5 g/l in blood or vitreous humor strongly indicated that the methanol was ingested during life and the methanol and formate were at least potentially life-threatening. This leads to the conclusion that the methanol was not present as an artifact or an accident of specimen collection. On the other hand, the following conditions were indicative that the methanol had been introduced into one or more parts of the body as an artifact rather than through ingestion during life: finding methanol in the absence of formate; formate concentrations substantially less than 0.5 g/l in the blood or vitreous humor; or the presence of methanol at markedly different concentrations in blood compared with vitreous humor or vice versa. From all death cases investigated by a medical examiner in Alberta (Canada) between 1986 and 2005, all cases in which methanol was detected were included, with the following exceptions: where the body was embalmed, when the postmortem blood or vitreous methanol concentration was less than 0.2 g/l, or when death was delayed due to the effects of methanol poisoning and a hospital-admission blood sample was unavailable. An automated headspace gas chromatography method was developed for the determination of formate in postmortem specimens, based on the in situ sulfuric acid-methanol methylation of formic acid to methyl formate. Diisopropyl ether was used as an internal standard. 3 tables, 5 figures, and 24 references
Main Term(s): Police policies and procedures
Index Term(s): Autopsy; Canada; Death investigations; Drug effects; Drug overdose; Drug related fatalities; Foreign criminal justice research; Forensic sciences; Investigative techniques
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