Suicidal chemistry: combined intoxication with carbon monoxide and formic acid.

Baković, Marija and Nestić, Marina and Mayer, Davor (2016) Suicidal chemistry: combined intoxication with carbon monoxide and formic acid. International Journal of Legal Medicine, 130 (3). pp. 723-9. ISSN 0937-9827

[img] PDF
Download (921kB)


Herein, we present a rare case of suicidal intoxication with carbon monoxide produced via reaction of formic and sulphuric acid with additional toxic effect of formic acid. The deceased was a 22-year-old men found dead in the bathroom locked from the inside. A bucket filled with liquid was found next to him, together with an almost empty canister labeled "formic acid" and another empty unlabeled canister. The postmortem examination revealed corrosive burns of the face, neck and chest, cherry-pink livor mortis, corrosive injury to the oropharyngeal area and trachea, subpleural petechiae, 100 mL of blood in stomach and superficial erosions of stomach mucosa. Toxicology analysis revealed 30% of carboxyhemoglobin in the femoral blood and the presence of the formic acid in various samples. Quantitative analysis of formic acid was performed by measuring methyl ester derivative of formic acid by using headspace gas chromatography with flame ionization detection. The highest concentration of formic acid was measured in the lungs (0.55 g/kg), gastric content (0.39 g/L), and blood (0.28 g/L). In addition, it was established that content of the unlabeled canister had a pH value of 0.79 and contained sulphuric ions. Morphological and toxicology findings suggested that the main route of exposure to formic acid was inhalation of vapors with a possible ingestion of only small amount of liquid acid. The cause of death was determined to be combined intoxication with carbon monoxide and formic acid.

Item Type: Article
MeSH: Administration, Inhalation ; Burns, Chemical/pathology ; Carbon Monoxide Poisoning ; Carboxyhemoglobin/analysis ; Formates/analysis ; Formates/poisoning ; Gastrointestinal Contents/chemistry ; Humans ; Lung/chemistry ; Male ; Suicide ; Young Adult
Departments: Katedra za sudsku medicinu
Depositing User: Martina Žužak
Status: Published
Baković, MarijaUNSPECIFIED
Date: May 2016
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2017 07:37
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2017 07:37
Related URLs:

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year