Volume 38, Issue 2 (March 1993)

    Fatality Due to Recreational Use of Chlorodifluoromethane and Chloropentafluoroethane

    (Received 28 April 1992; accepted 30 July 1992)

    CODEN: JFSOAD

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    Abstract

    Reports on fatalities of chlorofluorocarbons usually involve chlorotrifluoroethane, trichlorofluoromethane, dichlorodifluoromethane or chlorodifluoromethane, where analysis was done using packed column gas chromatography. In this case a death was caused by an azeotropic mixture of chlorodifluoromethane and chloropentafluoroethane, a combination that has not previously been reported in the forensic literature. This report details the analysis using mass selective detection employing capillary gas chromatography columns currently used in many toxicology laboratories.

    Postmortem toxicology revealed blood concentrations of chlorodifluoromethane and chloropentafluoroethane of 71 mg/L and 0.30 mg/L, respectively. Brain, liver, and lung concentrations of chlorodifluoromethane were (mg/kg) 2.8, 4.4, and 1.6, respectively. Brain, liver, and lung concentrations of chloropentafluoroethane were (mg/kg) 0.80, 0.80, and 0.11, respectively. The victim's blood contained 5.5 mg/L caffeine. Lidocaine, used in resuscitation attempts, was also present in the victim's blood. No other alkali-extractable drugs or volatile alcohols were detected in the victim's blood. The cause of death was acute respiratory arrest due to chlorofluorocarbon inhalation.


    Author Information:

    Fishel, CE
    Forensic Chemist and Medical Examiner, Tidewater Regional Forensic Laboratory, Norfolk, VA

    Bush, LLE
    Forensic Chemist and Medical Examiner, Tidewater Regional Forensic Laboratory, Norfolk, VA

    Fitzgerald, RL
    Chemist, Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, Clinical Chemistry, VA Hospital, San Diego, CA


    Stock #: JFS13431J

    ISSN: 0022-1198

    DOI: 10.1520/JFS13431J

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    Title Fatality Due to Recreational Use of Chlorodifluoromethane and Chloropentafluoroethane
    Symposium , 0000-00-00
    Committee E30