Forensic Tox. vs Forensic Chem.

Forensic Toxicology

perform scientific tests on bodily fluids and tissue samples to identify any drugs or chemicals present in the body. As part of a team investigating a crime, a forensic toxicologist will isolate and identify any substances in the body that may have contributed to the crime, such as: Alcohol.

Forensic Chemistry

professional chemist who analyzes evidence that is brought in from crime scenes and reaches a conclusion based on tests run on that piece of evidence. A forensic chemist's job is to identify and characterize the evidence as part of the larger process of solving a crime.
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Understanding a crime

Forensic Toxicologist goes to a crime scene and investigates if any type of substance was involved in the crime or in the body. Forensic Chemist run many tests on any evidence that is brought in to help understand what happened in the crime.


-crime of forensic toxicology-

On September 15, 2002, things were looking up for 82-year-old Erma Prince. She’d just undergone a successful hip pinning at Dunn Me¬morial Hospital in Bedford, Indiana, to repair a hip she’d broken the day before. After the procedure, she was awake, alert, and enjoying visits from family members. The medical staff was pleased with her progress.

So when Prince died on September 16, nobody knew why. The first autopsy was performed on the day of Prince’s death. The sole toxicology testing facility for Dunn Memorial, AIT Laboratories received and analyzed Prince’s blood samples immediately and produced a complete report two weeks later. The results confirmed a presence of propoxyphene at 3,540 ng/mL in her system. Two thousand nanograms of propoxyphene are considered toxic; over three thousand may be lethal. Because of these lab results, Prince’s overdose was labeled a homicide.


-crime of forensic chemistry-

On March 1, 1932, Charles Lindbergh Jr., the 20-month-old son of the famous aviator, was kidnapped, and although a ransom of $50,000 was paid, the child was never returned. His body was discovered in May just a few miles from his home. Tracking the circulation of the bills used in the ransom payment, authorities were led to Bruno Hauptmann, who was found with over $14,000 of the money in his garage. While Hauptmann claimed that the money belonged to a friend, key testimony from handwriting analysts matched his writing to that on the ransom notes. Additional forensic research connected the wood in Hauptmann’s attic to the wood used in the make-shift ladder that the kidnappers built to reach the child’s bedroom window. Hauptmann was convicted and executed in 1936.

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Difference

Forensic toxicology is the use of toxicology to aid medicolegal investigation of death, poisoning, and drug use. Many toxic substances do not produce characteristic lesions, so if a toxic reaction is suspected, visual investigation may not suffice. Forensic chemistry is the application of chemistry to law enforcement. Some forensic chemists may deal with explosives or poisons. The bulk of most forensic chemists work is on the analysis of controlled substances.