Friday, September 13, 2013

What a Toxicology Expert Witness Can Do

In William Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, a character declares, “If you poison us, do we not die?” That line still rings true today, as more and more incidents are reported where poison caused the death or serious injury of a person. The 2012 data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that a total of 17,622 children under six years were reportedly exposed to harmful ingredients in a wide range of products, such as cosmetics, pain medications, cleaners, and pesticides.

Tracing the source of these incidents is necessary so the public can be advised to avoid said sources accordingly. Tracing the toxicity source, however, is a job that a layperson won't be able to do on his own. This is a job that only a toxicology expert can accomplish. Toxicology experts combine their knowledge on three branches to determine the cause of poison exposure: medicine, chemistry, and biology.

These experts conduct several tests to arrive at the most accurate result. Unlike in crime shows where toxicology experts seem to come up with results in an instant (almost as if they used magic) in real life, the process is much longer. If a person is exposed to a toxic substance, the toxicology experts will have to get a tissue sample, urine sample, and blood sample, and getting all these examined takes time to determine the exact cause.

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