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Journal Article

Citation

Karinen R, Vindenes V, Morild I, Johnsen L, Le Nygaard I, Christophersen AS. J. Forensic Sci. 2013; 58(5): 1393-1396.

Affiliation

Division of Forensic Medicine and Drug Abuse Research, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Lovisenberggata 6, Oslo, 0456, Norway.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2013, American Society for Testing and Materials, Publisher John Wiley and Sons)

DOI

10.1111/1556-4029.12208

PMID

23879346

Abstract

Two deep frozen persons, a female and a male, were found dead in a car. There had been an explosive fire inside the car which had extinguished itself. On the floor inside the car were large pools of liquid which smelled of gasoline. The autopsy findings and routine toxicological analyses could not explain the cause of death. Carboxyhemoglobin levels in the blood samples were <10%. Analysis with a headspace gas chromatography revealed methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) concentrations of 185 mg/L (female victim) and 115 mg/L (male victim) in peripheral blood. The urine MTBE concentrations were 150 mg/L and 256 mg/L, respectively. MTBE is a synthetic chemical which is added to gasoline as a fuel oxygenate. Gasoline poisoning is likely to be the cause of the death in these two cases, and MTBE can be a suitable marker of gasoline exposure, when other volatile components have vaporized.


Language: en

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