Simultaneous Analysis of Alchohol and Volatile Toxic Substances in Blood Using Headspace-GC-MS


User Benefits

- Headspace GC-MS enables simultaneous analysis of blood alcohol and volatile toxic substances, such as cyanide and azide. - The HS-20 NXis designed to provide sample flow path inertness and the shortest possible flow path, which reduces carryover and enables simultaneous and simple analysis of high ethanol concentrations, such as those present in blood alcohol analysis, and trace amounts of volatile toxic substances.


Police laboratories and university forensic medicine departments analyze a variety of volatile toxic substances in the course of investigating accidents, crimes, and other incidents. Blood alcohol (ethanol) levels are analyzed for evidence of intoxication in traffic accidents involving drunk driving, physical assault, and injuries inflicted while under the influence of alcohol and acute alcohol poisoning. Paint thinners containing mainly toluene, methanol, and ethyl acetate have anesthetic and stimulant properties, and the abuse of thinners by inhalation has become a social issue that is now regulated by legislation aimed at preventing abuse. Meanwhile, cyanides and azides are chemical compounds with industrial applications, making them relatively accessible to those in certain industries. This easy access has led to the major social issue of contamination incidents caused by abuse of these toxic substances. Therefore, systems for testing major poisons and toxic substances have been enhanced to better identify the causes of suicide and various crimes. The headspace technique enables relatively simple measurements of blood alcohol and paint thinner concentrations, so it is routinely used by police laboratories and university forensic medicine departments. Cyanides and azides are typically measured using GC-MS on samples that have undergone PFB derivitization and solvent extraction followed by liquid injection. However, this technique is cumbersome due to the need for pre treatment of samples, including the derivitization and extraction steps. This Application News describes using the headspace GC/MS technique to simultaneously analyze alcohol and paint thinner—which are typically measured with the headspace technique—together with cyanide and azide.

February 20, 2024 GMT

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