Author(s): Campelo EL, Caldas ED
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Abstract This study describes the substances involved in fatal events that were investigated by the Forensic Medicine Institute of the Federal District, Brazil, from 2006 to 2008. The presence of pesticides was investigated in liver or stomach content samples by thin-layer chromatography; amphetamines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, tetra-hydro-cannabinol (THC), cocaine and opioids were analyzed in urine samples by immunoassay. A total of 8736 exams were performed, of which 21.7\% tested positive for at least one compound investigated. Men were involved in over 90\% of positive cases; most individuals were between the ages of 18 and 30. Alcohol was detected in 47.4\% of the blood samples, with over 30\% presenting BAC levels higher than 1g/L. Cocaine was present in 21.6\%, and THC in 17.5\% of the urine samples analyzed. Pesticides were found in 13.3\% of the 188 cases investigated, mostly aldicarb, which is the main component of chumbinho, an illegal rodenticide available in the country. Among pharmaceutical drugs, benzodiazepines were the most detected, with 29 samples testing positive (4.6\% of the samples analyzed). Most of the individuals who died from traumatism or hypovolemia tested positive for alcohol. Death from intoxication/poisoning corresponded to 1.8\% of all positive cases, mainly from the ingestion of pesticides. This is the first Brazilian study reporting data on toxic chemicals from postmortem material. The results confirm other epidemiological data that indicate pesticide as the major cause of fatal poisonings in Brazil. (c) 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Forensic Sci Int
and referenced in Journal of Forensic Research