Now this is the point where a forensic toxicologist comes onto the scene. “According to the American Board of Forensic Toxicology (ABFT), Forensic toxicology is interdisciplinary field of study dealing with the effects and reactions of various toxicants and chemicals on the human body” (Bell, 2008). As the name suggests, a forensic scientist works very closely with legal experts and at most of the occasions the forensic scientist himself in a situation where his opinions form the basis of legal process.
More than 21 million compounds fit the definition of intoxicant and have the capability to cause damage to the human body (Wecht & Rago, 2006). The history of this field goes back to the earliest times when human formed societies and learned about the use of various chemicals. It was in the 19th century when scientists and chemical experts gained insights about the use of chemicals and in the next century, the world witnessed cases concerned with deaths caused by intoxication more than in the previous recorded history. “Mary Ann cotton, Belle Sorrenson, Gunness Nannie Doss, Doctor Thomas Neill Cream, John Otto Hoch, Graham Frederick Young and Donald Harvey” (Hayes, 2001) are most of the most famous criminals who took unjust advantage of their knowledge of toxicants by killing people (Bell, 2008). Before the legal experts could catch their crime, they had killed many of their targets. This asked the investigators to understand the dynamics of toxicology and apply it to the field of forensics.
The applications of this field are in three major sub fields that are “postmortem forensic toxicology, human performance toxicology, and forensic drug testing” (Casarett & Doull, 1975). There are various sources for forensic testing of toxicants in human body. Testing with blood, citreous humor, urine, bile, liver, hair sample, saliva, and others are the most commonly used sources (Hayes,