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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 229261 Find in a Library
Title: Effects of Household Corrosive Chemicals on Human Dentition
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:54  Issue:6  Dated:November 2009  Pages:1238-1246
Author(s): Darcy J. Cope, B.A.; Tosha L. Dupras, Ph.D.
Date Published: November 2009
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: National Ctr for Forensic Science
Orlando, FL 32816-2367
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined the effects of eight household chemicals on teeth in human remains.
Abstract: As hypothesized, distinctive effects were observed for each of the eight chemicals. The corrosive chemical categories were hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, phosphoric acid, and sodium hydroxide. Two products with each chemical were used, with each having varying concentrations of the corrosive product. The study found that products which contained hydrochloric acid produced severe dissolution of dentition and were thus able to eradicate crucial evidence on dentition, such as trauma or unique features that are important in attaining a positive identification of a victim. Exposure to hydrochloric acid resulted in rapid removal of the enamel and a resulting jelly-like consistency. Sulfuric acid resulted in minimal alterations to the teeth, although some etching and discoloration were observed. Phosphoric acid resulted in variable changes of the organic and inorganic contents of teeth. Exposure to sodium hydroxide resulted in little to no change. There are several possible contexts in which human teeth may be exposed to corrosive chemicals: forensic cases that involve the use of corrosive chemicals on a victim, vomiting in bulimic individuals, industrial chemical hazards in the workplace, and methods in dentistry that regularly expose teeth to acidic chemicals for etching. Forty-one teeth were collected from a dentist in Orlando, FL; of these, 16 teeth where chosen for the experiment because of their overall completeness and lack of pathology. Many of the teeth, however, had calculus buildup and cavities, representing real-world dental conditions. An incisor and molar were selected for applications of each chemical group. The application procedure involved exposure to the chemical throughout a 24-hour period. 7 tables, 6 figures, and 32 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Chemical irritants; Death investigations; Dental analysis; Victim identification
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