Journal Article

An Unusual Trichloroethanol Fatality Attributed to Sniffing Trichloroethylene

Graham R. Jones and Peter P. Singer

in Journal of Analytical Toxicology

Volume 32, issue 2, pages 183-186
Published in print March 2008 | ISSN: 0146-4760
Published online March 2008 | e-ISSN: 1945-2403 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jat/32.2.183
An Unusual Trichloroethanol Fatality Attributed to Sniffing Trichloroethylene

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We report the death of a 28-year-old man due to sniffing a contact cement containing trichloroethylene. Initial testing revealed the presence of 80 mg/L trichloroethanol in cardiac blood, and the death was ruled as being due to trichloroethanol toxicity resulting from chloral hydrate ingestion. However, further investigation of the case revealed that the trichloroethanol resulted from trichloroethylene abuse. Subsequent targeted analysis for trichloroethylene, four months after the death, confirmed its presence in cardiac blood (1.1 mg/L), bile (4.5 mg/L), and liver (2.5 mg/kg). Trichloroethanol was initially detected during routine drug screening that employed gas chromatography (GC) using an HP-5 column with electron capture detection and subsequently quantitated by GC using the same column as for the initial screen, but with flame-ionization detection (FID); ethchlorvynol was the internal standard. Trichloroethylene was quantitated by headspace GC with a Restek Rtx-BAC1 column and FID; 1,1,1-trichloroethane was the internal standard.

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Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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