Forensic Toxicology: A Complete Overview


The word “Toxicology” is derived from the Greek word “Toxicon” which was used as a poisonous substance in arrow heads. Forensic Toxicology is the branch of science which is deal with the nature, effects and detection of poisons. Forensic Toxicologist’s primarily concerned is the Medico-legal aspect of the harmful effects of chemicals on human and animals.

Mainly it’s utilized for establishing the cause of death and to interpret its circumstances in Post-mortem Investigation.

Work of Forensic Toxicologist

The work of forensic toxicologist is therefore considered as highly complicated as small quantities of poison and their metabolites are to be isolated, purified and quantified from a highly complex matrices.


Poisons can be classified in a variety of ways, depending upon the interests and needs of classifier e.g. classification may be done on the basis of mode of action of poison, toxicity rating, in terms of their physical states, their labeling requirements, their chemistry etc.

For the purpose of toxicological analysis, poison are classified on the basis of their chemical properties and method of isolation from tissues and other biological fluids which are given further:

👉 Noxious Gases

👉 Volatile Inorganic

👉 Volatile Organic

👉 Non-Volatile Inorganic

👉 Non-volatile Organic Neutral Compounds

👉 Non-volatile Organic Acidic Compounds

👉 Non-volatile Organic Alkaline Compounds

👉 Plant Poisons

👉 Miscellaneous Poisons

👉 Noxious Gases

✔ Carbon Monoxide (CO)

✔ Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

✔ Hydrogensulphide (H2S)

✔ Sulphurdioxide (SO2)

✔ Chlorine (Cl2)

✔ Nitrous oxide (N2O)

✔ Methane (CH4)

✔ Methylisocyanide

✔ War gases

✔ Ammonia

✔ Chloroacetophenone (Tear gas)

👉 Volatile Inorganic







⚡Chloride Fluorocarbon


👉 Volatile Organic





🕯Chloral Hydrate





👉 Non-Volatile Inorganic


1. Halides

2. Selenide

3. Dichromate

4. Chlorate

5. Azide

6. Nitrite

7. Sulphide

8. Sulphate

9. Nitrate

10. Phosphide

11. Cyanide etc.


1. Mercury

2. Arsenic

3. Barium

4. Thallium

5. Lead

6. Antimony

7. Bismuth

8. Copper

9. Aluminum

10. Zinc, etc.

👉 Non-volatile Organic Neutral Compounds

🗯 Pesticides (Organophosphorous, Organochioro, Carbamates and Pyrethroids)

🗯 Neutral Compounds.

👉 Non-volatile Organic Acidic Compounds

Acidic Drugs like Barbiturates, Sulpha and Phenolic compounds, Salicylatesc etc.

👉 Non-volatile Organic Alkaline Compounds

All basic Drugs like benzodiazepines, alkaloids etc.

👉 Plant Poisons





🌾Abrus Precatorius, etc.

👉 Miscellaneous Poisons

💨 Mechanical: Glass powder, Diamond dust, chopped hair, etc.

🍞 Food poisons/Mycotoxins.

🐉 Animal/Insect poisons

🧪 Water soluble Compound

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