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Popovača, Croatia

Gauthier S.,University of Zurich | Grass H.,University Hospitals | Lory M.,Forensic Institute | Kramer T.,University of Zurich | And 2 more authors.
Annals of Occupational Hygiene | Year: 2012

The installation of wood pellet heating as a cost-effective and climatically neutral source of energy for private households has increased steadily in recent years. We report two deaths that occurred within the space of about a year in wood pellet storerooms of private households in German-speaking countries and were investigated by forensic medical teams. This is the first report of fatalities in this special context as is shown in the literature review. Both victims died of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning; one of the victims was a woman who was 4 months pregnant. Measurements at the scene detected life-threatening CO concentrations (7500 ppm, >500 ppm), which were not significantly reduced after ventilation of the storerooms as required by regulations. We carried out a series of experiments in order to confirm CO production by wood pellets. Thirty kilograms of freshly produced pellets from two different manufacturers were stored for 16 days in airtight containers at 26°C with different relative humidities. CO concentrations between 3100 and 4700 ppm were measured in all containers. There were no notable differences between the wood pellet products or storage at different humidities. Emission of CO from wood pellets has already been described, but fatal accidents have previously been reported only in association with pellet transport on cargo ships or storage in silos. It is therefore a new finding that fatal accidents may also occur in the wood pellet storerooms of private households. We show that significant CO concentrations can build up even when these rooms are ventilated in accordance with the regulations and that such levels may cause the death of healthy persons, as described in the following. As the safety recommendations from the wood pellet industry are inadequate, we consider that further fatal accidents are likely to occur and recommend urgent revision of the safety regulations. © 2012 The Author.

Vlase L.,University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca | Popa D.-S.,University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca | Zaharia D.,Forensic Institute | Loghin F.,University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca
Romanian Journal of Legal Medicine | Year: 2010

A new high-throughput liquid chromatography / tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method for the quantification of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in suspect plant material and of its principal metabolite, 11-nor-9-carboxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC-COOH), in human urine was developed and validated. The separation was performed on a Zorbax SB-C18 column under isocratic conditions using a mixture of 2 mM ammonium formate in water and methanol (17:83, v/v) for THC or acetonitrile (45:55, v/v) for THC-COOH at 40°C with a flow rate of 1 mL/min. The detection was performed in MRM mode using an ion trap MS equipped with an APCI ion source using positive mode ionization for THC and negative mode ionization for THC-COOH. The plant samples (0.2 g) were extracted in methanol and diluted before the analysis. The urine samples were heated for 30 min at 80°C with 85% phosphoric acid and centrifugated before the analysis. The method showed a good linearity (r > 0.994), precision and accuracy (< 8.5%) over the concentration ranges of 2 -128 ng/mL for THC and 0.5 - 32 ng/mL for THC-COOH, respectively. The method is not expensive, requires a minimum time for sample preparation and has a run-time of 3.5 min for instrument analysis (retention times for THC and THC-COOH were 2.6 and 2.55 min, respectively). The developed and validated LC-MS/MS method is very simple and more rapid than other similar methods. It was successfully applied for the rapid quantification of THC in plant samples and of THC-COOH in human urine in forensic toxicology analyses. © 2010 Romanian Society of Legal Medicine.

Popa G.,Institutul Of Studii Pentru Ordine Publica | Potorac R.,Forensic Institute | Preda N.,Forensic Service
Romanian Journal of Legal Medicine | Year: 2010

The aim of this study was to establish an estimation relationship of the age of fingerprints left on surfaces, by morphological, structural, macro- and microscopic examinations, together with biochemical and titration DNA tests in order to confirm the rate of biological degradation during a certain period. The capacity of counting the age of a fingerprint lead to the possibility to place it in time and to correlate it with the time of doing the criminal act, bringing us information about the presence of a person in a certain place and period. As research methods we used forensic techniques for fingerprints, as well as cytology and molecular biological methods (DNA analysis, DNA quantification with TaqMan using Real Time PCR). The estimation of the age of fingerprints using these methods offers us the advantages of standardization based on relationships between morphological or/and biochemical characteristics depending on time, as well as the possibility to assign as a rough guide a blood type to an individual. © 2010 Romanian Society of Legal Medicine.

Popa G.,Institutul Of Studii Pentru Ordine Publica | Ionitescu R.C.,Internal Medicine and Rheumathology Unit | Potorac R.,Forensic Institute | Mihai C.,Institutul Of Studii Pentru Ordine Publica | And 2 more authors.
Romanian Journal of Legal Medicine | Year: 2010

Systemic sclerosis (SSc), a connective tissue disease, involves vascular damage, autoimmunity and fibrosis.The aims of this study were: to identify a pattern of structural and biological changes of fingerprints (FP) in definite SSc patients and to establish it's validity in time at the second and third patient visit after 2, respective 6 months from the first analysis. We also evaluated the degradation of FP constituents from the first visit during a month time. In all SSc fingerprints, pore density was lower, papillary combs were more flattened and papillary grooves narrower than in controls. Epithelial cells desquamation process was accelerated in SSc versus controls. DNA levels were statistically significant higher but their decrease over time was faster in SSc FP versus controls FP. On the second and the third visits, morphological constituents of FP were significantly deteriorated versus first visit suggesting accelerated skin degradation in evolution of SSc. Fingerprint evaluation is a non-invasive, simple, observational method and it may become the fundation of future attempt to find a fingerprint pattern capable to sustain the diagnosis of SSc in subjects with early scleroderma features. © 2010 Romanian Society of Legal Medicine.

Werner R.,Forensic Institute | Schultz B.,Forensic Institute | Frank M.,University of Greifswald
International Journal of Legal Medicine | Year: 2016

In firearm examiners’ and forensic specialists’ casework as well as in air gun proof testing, reliable measurement of the weapon’s muzzle velocity is indispensable. While there are standardized and generally accepted procedures for testing the performance of air guns, the method of seating the diabolo pellets deeper into the breech of break barrel spring-piston air guns has not found its way into standardized test procedures. The influence of pellet seating on the external ballistic parameters was investigated using ten different break barrel spring-piston air guns. Test shots were performed with the diabolo pellets seated 2 mm deeper into the breech using a pellet seater. The results were then compared to reference shots with conventionally loaded diabolo pellets. Projectile velocity was measured with a high-precision redundant ballistic speed measurement system. In eight out of ten weapons, the muzzle energy increased significantly when the pellet seater was used. The average increase in kinetic energy was 31 % (range 9–96 %). To conclude, seating the pellet even slightly deeper into the breech of spring-piston air guns might significantly alter the muzzle energy. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that this effect is taken into account when accurate and reliable measurements of air gun muzzle velocity are necessary. © 2016 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

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