Volume 46, Issue 1 (January 2001)
Pesticide Poisoning Initially Suspected as a Natural Death
A pesticide poisoning victim suspected initially as having died a natural death was autopsied. The victim was a 47-year-old male. Macroscopically, signs of acute death and, in particular, general erosion in the mucosa of the airways and esophagus were observed. In the gastric contents, which had a pungent smell and a greenish-brown color, 5.00 g/L of propanil, 1.27 g/L of carbaryl, 0.38 g/L of ethylbenzene, and 0.32 g/L of xylene were detected. In the blood (serum), 21.6 mg/L of propanil, 8.1 mg/L of carbaryl, 1.7 mg/L of ethylbenzene, and 4.0 mg/L of xylene were identified. Postmortem methemoglobinemia (45%) was recognized. The cause of death was considered to have been pesticide poisoning; propanil was probably most responsible for his death. The police considered the case to be “death with illness as the suspected cause.” By performing an autopsy, however, we were able to clarify that the cause of death was pesticide poisoning.