Toxicology Guide

Test for Poison in the Body

How to Test for Poison in the Body

The human body is a complex network of organs that give you a clue whatever’s wrong with the body. Not only does it tell all about the person when alive but also serves a great role in finding a lot about what happened to it even after death. This is where forensic science steps in.

Forensic toxicology is crucial in finding if someone’s been poisoned to death. In homicides and suicides, toxicology is pivotal in discovering the poison used which helps in solving a lot of cases. So how does it work? How do they test for poison in the body?

How is A Body Tested for Poisons

It all starts with collecting specimens from the body. Blood, urine, hair, and saliva are common specimens taken from the body in case of natural or unnatural death. The specimen is collected by a forensic pathologist in high-quality containers. Throughout the process of collection, storage, transportation to the laboratory, and such, the chain of custody is maintained carefully since they are extremely important in court cases.

Once the specimen is safely handed over to the laboratory, tests are done to determine the presence of various poisons.

Blood: Blood is the first specimen that is usually collected to detect the concentration of toxicants in the bloodstream. It does not only help in determining the quantity of poison taken but also in estimating the effects of the poison and the time of death. However, it is important to take the samples before any treatment is given to the person. In case the specimen is taken after treatments, it can greatly affect the result of the toxicology report. The time of death is also critical in blood testing since the degree of decomposition may affect the result of reports.

Urine: More than foresic testing (after death), urine is used for testing at the workplace since urine is not always available post-death. However, urine is one of the most reliable samples in testing the presence of drugs and poisons in the body. Although they do not necessarily tell much about the time of ingestion but do indicate that the substance has been ingested sometime ago.

Liver: The liver is the primary tissue tested for poison in the body since this is the organ that metabolizes toxicants. Poison and drugs usually become concentrated in the liver which is why it is easier to detect the presence of such substances.

Hair: Hair sample is a primarily considered to determine poisoning if we are scanning for long term exposure.  Sicne most poisons or drugs are ingested, concentrations can be found in the hair shaft. Why Hair Test?

This is also a alternative option, if an autopy was not performed shortly after death or the body was found few days after death, where blood, liver or stomach sample would not have been a good sample for testing. Read more How do Poisons or Toxins enter the body?


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The Carlson Company offers high Quality & Professional Poison Test & Toxin Analysis with Forensic experts. we offer complete post mortem poison testing facilities with court-admissible reports. To get a poison test done, call us now on (866) 889-3410