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毒 物 与 吸 毒 Poisons and drug abuse Department of Forenxic Toxicology SHIZHONG BIAN. Intentional Poisoning* Advantages Gender Silent Male 46% Precise targeting Female 39% Depersonalized Unknown 16% Safe for attacker Profile Background Caucasian Public 71%
Poisons and drug abuse
Department of Forenxic Toxicology
Silent Male 46%
Precise targeting Female 39%
Depersonalized Unknown 16%
Safe for attacker
Caucasian Public 71%
Male Physician 8%
Average or above intelligence Political 4%
Underachiever Nurse 4%
Personality defect Other 5%
Cowardly, nonconfrontational Unknown 9%
Neat and orderly, meticulous
Careful planner *Source: Criminal Poisoning (2000)
Loner J. H. Trestrail, Humana Press
Undetectable by senses
Symptoms mimic actual disease
Chemically stable (?)
Undetectable by instrumentation
Potencies of Poisons
Agent Lethal dose
Botulinum toxin 0.05 mg
Ricin 0.5 mg
Strychnine 100 mg
Sodium arsenite 200 mg
Sodium cyanide 250 mg
Thallium 1000 mg
NB: A dime is 2300 mg
Antique drug collections
Hobbies/natural sources (e.g., plants)
Synthetic – Organophosphates
Fluroacetate (1080 bait)
Plant-derived – Oleander
nurseries, arboreta, backyards, wild areas
Foxglove Datura Oleander Autumn Poison Lantana Ricinus communis
purpurea crocus hemlock (Castor bean)
digitalis atropine cardiaccolchicine coniine lantadene ricin
Not visible: Lupine (lupanine)
Agent Frequency Target
Arsenic 31% Energy generation
Cyanide 9% “
Strychnine 6% Nervous system
Morphine 3% “
Chloroform 2% “
Evidence in vicinity of victim
Pill bottle, drug paraphernalia
Food, beverage leftovers
HPLC, GC, Mass Spec
Love, money, power
Disguised as random
Constricted/dilated pupils (opioids, organophosphates)
Breath odor (arsenic – garlic)
Hair loss (thallium)
Coma (depressants, hypnotics)
Skin color (CO – cherry red; nitrites – blue)
Skin appearance (arsenic – hyperkeratosis, warts)
(dioxin – chloracne)
Poisoning of Victor Yushchenko just before Ukraine presidential election
Guinea pig 2
Organs (brain, liver, kidney, muscle)
Blood (heart, peripheral)
Bile (insoluble metabolites)
Gastric contents (alkaloids)
Accidental death or homicide?
Compensable injury or carelessness?
Background that could confound interpretation
Verify authenticity/natural source or show adulteration
How did the mass poisoning occur?
Substitution of inferior/contaminated component?
Track source of environmental contamination
Environmental justice for underserved?
Safeguards not enforced
Children often victims
Which companies are breaking the law?
Delicacy in Japanese restaurants
Gives tingling of lips when properly prepared
Tetrodotoxin concentrated in liver and ovary (removed)
Blocks sodium channel in nerves
Fatal in excess (lethal dose 1 mg)
Shellfish Tainted by Red Tide (3 examples)
Saxitoxin – Paralytic shellfish poison (blocks sodium channel), potentially fatal
Domoic acid – Amnesic shellfish poison (glutamate neurotransmitter analog)
Disorientation, loss of short term memory at moderate doses
Fatal excitotoxin activity at higher doses
Okadaic acid – Diarrhetic shellfish poison (phosphatase inhibitor), nonfatal
Harmful Algal Blooms
Thought increasing due to coastal pollution, ocean warming
Of 4,400 known algal species, >1% produce toxins
Known causes of wildlife epidemics
Marine mammal mortality off California coast from domoic acid
Iraq 1972:5-6,000 people hospitalized, 10% died.
Seed grain donated with methyl mercury antifungal agent.
Distributed 100,000 tons to farmers, improperly identified.
Grain (wheat, barley) mistakenly used to make bread.
Michigan 1973:Nearly 2 million livestock destroyed.
Several hundred pounds PBBs mixed with dairy feed.
Coverup by company and state officials compounded problem.
Spain 1981: 11,000 people hospitalized, >500 died.
Industrial rapeseed oil from France containing aniline refined.
Refining process produced toxic components.
Resold fraudulently as cooking oil (59 tons) after mixing olive oil.
Adulturation of vegetable oils (soybean/canola in olive) frequent.
Biochemical components becoming available for detection.
A woman holds a victim of
"Minamata Disease", or mercury
poisoning, in Minamata, Japan,
in 1973. The girl has a malformed
hand, like many victims of the
disease who suffer from physical
deformities and mental retardation.
Chisso Corporation, a Japanese
fertilizer, petrochemical and
plastics company, dumped an
estimated 27 tons of mercury
compounds into Minamata Bay
between 1932 and 1968. Up to
10,000 people were affected by
eating seafood from the bay.
Many sources of mercury exist, either natural (fish) or associated with
human activity (chloralkali plants, gold mines, effluent from power plants).
Elemental form is methylated by micro-organisms in the environment.
Targets: Blood cells (anemia), kidney (gout), sperm (infertility)
Nervous system most sensitive target
Adults: Occupational exposures
Lead smelters, battery factories, lead additives
Painters got peripheral neuropathy (wrist drop)
Children: Colic (acute) and mental retardation (chronic)
Legacy of leaded paint and gasoline
• Eating peeling paint (many inner cities)
• Playing in contaminated yards (e.g., Oakland)
Sweden 1997: Hallandsas tunnel construction halted.
Acrylamide used in grouting to prevent water seepage.
20 workers experienced neurological symptoms (reversible).
Several cows grazing nearby showed severe neural effects.
Dead fish found in hatchery supplied by water from tunnel.
Acrylamide found in ground water near tunnel.
Sensitive methods developed to detect acrylamide showed
high background levels in humans.
Surprisingly high levels found in fried foods (potato chips).
Potential exposures in typical labs using acrylamide gels
(including DNA identification labs).
Ion channels – Signal conduction
Synaptic region – Neurotransmitter processing
Reuptake of excess
Receptor response (stimulate, block)
Channels and receptors - multigene families
Located in different parts of the nervous system
Responsible for differential effects
Treatment for narcolepsy - 1930’s
Maintaining military alertness - 1940’s
Occupational alertness (students, truckers) – 1950’s
Suppress childhood attention deficit disorder
Dietary supplement (ephedrine) as “natural energizer”