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Ernst T.,Trace Evidence Unit | Berman T.,Orlando Regional Operations Center | Eckert-Lumsdon T.,U.S. Army | Olsson K.,Johnson County Crime Laboratory | And 5 more authors.
X-Ray Spectrometry | Year: 2014

Micro X-ray fluorescence (μ-XRF) spectrometry using an energy dispersive X-ray (EDS) detector is capable of detecting certain major, minor, and trace elements that permit potential discrimination of glass fragments in forensic cases on the basis of differences in elemental composition. Often, elements used for discrimination are present at concentrations near the detection limit of the EDS system, and the decision whether to utilize these minor peaks in a comparative analysis has generally been left to the discretion of the examiner. The use of signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) of spectral peaks provides additional objectivity in peak identification/label decisions and in the selection of elements in semiquantitative ratio comparisons. In addition, the use of SNRs enables calculations of limits of detection and limits of quantitation and the monitoring of instrument performance, and facilitates performance comparisons of different μ-XRF configurations. This paper demonstrates a practical method for applying the concepts of SNR, limits of detection, and limits of quantitation to μ-XRF generated EDS-based spectra, discusses the implications of such determinations, addresses spectral features that must be considered when making the calculations, and illustrates the application of these concepts to the example of forensic examination and comparison of glass samples. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Source


Palenik S.,Microtrace
2nd International Conference on Engineering Geophysics | Year: 2013

The basis for the forensic examination and analysis of microscopic trace evidence is stated in Locard's Exchange Principle: Whenever two objects come into contact there is always a transfer of material between them While the amount of matter transferred may be small (and even undetectable by currently available methods) and the decay rate (i.e., loss of transferred matter over time) may be rapid, the exchange of matter during contact will nonetheless occur. The truth of this principle has been proven by research and casework, most of which was conducted during the last half of the twentieth century. It is one of the few scientific principles that forensic science can call its own since there is rarely a need to establish that two objects have come into contact in any other area of important scientific research. Source


Alaani S.,Fallujah General Hospital | Tafash M.,Fallujah General Hospital | Busby C.,University of Ulster | Hamdan M.,Cancer and Birth Defects Foundation | Blaurock-Busch E.,Microtrace
Conflict and Health | Year: 2011

Background: Recent reports have drawn attention to increases in congenital birth anomalies and cancer in Fallujah Iraq blamed on teratogenic, genetic and genomic stress thought to result from depleted Uranium contamination following the battles in the town in 2004. Contamination of the parents of the children and of the environment by Uranium and other elements was investigated using Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry. Hair samples from 25 fathers and mothers of children diagnosed with congenital anomalies were analysed for Uranium and 51 other elements. Mean ages of the parents was: fathers 29.6 (SD 6.2); mothers: 27.3 (SD 6.8). For a sub-group of 6 women, long locks of hair were analysed for Uranium along the length of the hair to obtain information about historic exposures. Samples of soil and water were also analysed and Uranium isotope ratios determined. Results: Levels of Ca, Mg, Co, Fe, Mn, V, Zn, Sr, Al, Ba, Bi, Ga, Pb, Hg, Pd and U (for mothers only) were significantly higher than published mean levels in an uncontaminated population in Sweden. In high excess were Ca, Mg, Sr, Al, Bi and Hg. Of these only Hg can be considered as a possible cause of congenital anomaly. Mean levels for Uranium were 0.16 ppm (SD: 0.11) range 0.02 to 0.4, higher in mothers (0.18 ppm SD 0.09) than fathers (0.11 ppm; SD 0.13). The highly unusual non-normal Fallujah distribution mean was significantly higher than literature results for a control population Southern Israel (0.062 ppm) and a non-parametric test (Mann Whitney-Wilcoxon) gave p = 0.016 for this comparison of the distribution. Mean levels in Fallujah were also much higher than the mean of measurements reported from Japan, Brazil, Sweden and Slovenia (0.04 ppm SD 0.02). Soil samples show low concentrations with a mean of 0.76 ppm (SD 0.42) and range 0.1-1.5 ppm; (N = 18). However it may be consistent with levels in drinking water (2.28 gL-1) which had similar levels to water from wells (2.72 gL-1) and the river Euphrates (2.24 gL-1). In a separate study of a sub group of mothers with long hair to investigate historic Uranium excretion the results suggested that levels were much higher in the past. Uranium traces detected in the soil samples and the hair showed slightly enriched isotopic signatures for hair U238/U235 = (135.16 SD 1.45) compared with the natural ratio of 137.88. Soil sample Uranium isotope ratios were determined after extraction and concentration of the Uranium by ion exchange. Results showed statistically significant presence of enriched Uranium with a mean of 129 with SD5.9 (for this determination, the natural Uranium 95% CI was 132.1 < Ratio < 144.1). Conclusions: Whilst caution must be exercised about ruling out other possibilities, because none of the elements found in excess are reported to cause congenital diseases and cancer except Uranium, these findings suggest the enriched Uranium exposure is either a primary cause or related to the cause of the congenital anomaly and cancer increases. Questions are thus raised about the characteristics and composition of weapons now being deployed in modern battlefields. © 2011 Alaani et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source


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