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USING SCIENCE IN THE CAUSE OF JUSTICE
2004 International Symposium and Joint Meeting of Forensic Toxicologists

09/20/04

Photograph taken at the 2004 International Symposium and Joint Meeting of Foresnsic ToxicologistsForensic Toxicology? You know, the science that grew out of murder by poisoning. In fact, it was nearly 200 years ago that French scientist M.J.B. Orfila began to systematically study poisons...and to isolate arsenic from autopsy samples.

Today, of course, forensic toxicology is a highly sophisticated science that uses a range of scientific analyses to identify and quantitate foreign substances in the body and the environment that can have a toxic or behavior-altering effect...then takes those analyses to courts of law.

And today, advancing toxicological techniques in the cause of justice is a product of the international exchange of ideas and knowledge.

Which is what the FBI Symposium on Forensic Toxicology and 2004 Joint Meeting of the Society of Forensic Toxicologists (SOFT) and The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists (TIAFT) was all about.

This year, for seven days in August and September, over 900 students and professionals from 50 countries and every state of the Union attended the symposium (co hosted by the FBI Lab and the National Institute of Justice) with the theme "Global Partners for Justice and Health." Twelve workshops featured over 65 international speakers.

What kind of workshops? Things like:

  • The Toxicological Hazards of Clandestine Methamphetamine Synthesis
  • Poisons and Poisoners--What a Toxicologist Needs to Know
  • Advanced Mass Spectrometry Theory and Interpretation
  • Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault
  • New and Unique Technologies--like solid phase microextraction, cryogenic oven trapping, capillary electrophoresis and electrochromatography, and (see if you can say this three times at top speed) electrochemiluminescence immunoassays.

Plus, the 2004 Joint Meeting of SOFT and TIAFT had over 275 platform and poster presentations on topics such as postmortem toxicology, behavioral toxicology, forensic urine drug testing and adulteration, analytical methods, clinical and environmental toxicology, and alternative matrices.

We encourage you to find out more.

  • The FBI Lab site is crammed with information on its laboratory services, everything from chemistry to trace evidence, and has a downloadable Handbook of Forensic Services.
  • The Society of Forensic Toxicologists offers job listings, lab guidelines, and subscriptions to its quarterly ToxTalk.
  • The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists features an open net area for important resources and reference blood levels for assisting in determining the effects of therapeutic and toxic substance.