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Ethanol and Other Volatile Substances

The BCA Toxicology section utilizes head space gas chromatography to analyze beverage samples, antemortem and postmortem biological samples for ethyl alcohol and other volatiles.  Ethyl alcohol (beverage alcohol) is reported quantitatively in all biological samples per statute.  Forensic alcohol testing is a viable investigation tool in cases ranging from DWI to Homicide.

                                                                          HS-GC Instrument


Can of Dust Off1,1-difluoroethane (DFE) is a colorless, odorless gas used as a refrigerant chemical component of canned air which is commonly used to remove dust from computer keyboards and other electronics.  This highly toxic chemical is found in products such as Dust-OffTM


Intentional inhalation (a.k.a. huffing) of 1,1-difluoroethane can cause symptoms of drunkenness (blackout) and frostbite or blisters around the mouth.


Occurrences of 1,1-difluoroethane in blood and urine samples have increased greatly within the past few years, predominately among young adults.