Naturwissenschaften

, Volume 96, Issue 2, pp 303–307 | Cite as

Active oxygen doctors the evidence

  • Ana Castelló
  • Francesc Francès
  • Dolores Corella
  • Fernando Verdú
Short Communication

Abstract

Investigation at the scene of a crime begins with the search for clues. In the case of bloodstains, the most frequently used reagents are luminol and reduced phenolphthalein (or phenolphthalin that is also known as the Kastle–Meyer colour test). The limitations of these reagents have been studied and are well known. Household cleaning products have evolved with the times, and new products with active oxygen are currently widely used, as they are considered to be highly efficient at removing all kinds of stains on a wide range of surfaces. In this study, we investigated the possible effects of these new cleaning products on latent bloodstains that may be left at a scene of a crime. To do so, various fabrics were stained with blood and then washed using cleaning agents containing active oxygen. The results of reduced phenolphthalein, luminol and human haemoglobin tests on the washed fabrics were negative. The conclusion is that these new products alter blood to such an extent that it can no longer be detected by currently accepted methods employed in criminal investigations. This inability to locate bloodstains means that highly important evidence (e.g. a DNA profile) may be lost. Consequently, it is important that investigators are aware of this problem so as to compensate for it.

Keywords

Crime scene investigation Bloodstains Presumptive test Haemoglobin test 

References

  1. Castelló A, Alvarez M, Miquel M, Verdú F (2002) Development of latent stains: effectiveness of luminol and evaluation of its effect on DNA analysis. Cuad Med Forense 28:33–36, [article in Spanish]Google Scholar
  2. Cox M (1990) Effect of fabric washing on the presumptive identification of bloodstains. J Forensic Sci 35(6):1335–1341PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Cox M (1991) A study of the sensitivity and specificity of four presumptive tests for blood. J Forensic Sci 36:1503–1511PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Creamer JI, Quickenden TI, Apanah MV, Kerr KA, Robertson P (2003) A comprehensive experimental study of industrial, domestic and environmental interferences with the forensic luminol test for blood. Luminescence 18(4):193–198PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Creamer JI, Quickenden TI, Crichton LB, Roberson P, Ruhayel RA (2005) Attempted cleaning of bloodstains and its effect on the forensic luminol test. Luminescence 20(6):411–413, Nov–DecPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Grodsky M, Wright K, Kirk PL (1951) Simplified preliminary blood testing. An improved technique and comparative study of methods. J Crim Law Criminol Police Sci 42:95–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Heuser K, Oehmen M, Nadine K, Benecke M (2006) Effect of “Fit” dishwashing detergent from former Eastern Germany (GDR) on luminol luminescence. Arch Kriminol 217(5–6):137–145, [article in German]PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Higaki RS, Philp MS (1976) A study of the sensitivity, stability and specificity of phenolphthalein as an indicator test for blood. Can Soc Forensic Sci J 9(3):97–102Google Scholar
  9. James SH, Eckert WG (1999) Interpretation of bloodstains evidence at crime scenes, 2nd edn. CRC Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  10. Jones CW (1999) Applications of hydrogen peroxide and its derivatives. Royal Society of Chemistry, UKGoogle Scholar
  11. Kent E, Elliot DA, Miskelly GM (2003) Inhibition of bleach-induced luminol chemiluminescence. J Forensic Sci 48(1):64–67, JanPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. King R, Miskelly GM (2005) The inhibition by amines and amino acids of bleach-induced luminol chemiluminescence during forensic screening for blood. Talanta 67:345–353PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Proescher F, Moody AM (1939) Detection of blood by means of chemiluminescence. J Lab Clin Med 24:1183–1189Google Scholar
  14. Quickenden TI, Creamer JI (2001) A study of common interferences with the forensic luminol test for blood. Luminescence 16(4):295–298, Jul–AugPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Quickenden TI, Creamer JI (2004) The forensic use of luminol chemiluminescence to detect traces of blood inside motor vehicles. Luminescence 19:271–277PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Castelló
    • 1
  • Francesc Francès
    • 1
  • Dolores Corella
    • 2
  • Fernando Verdú
    • 1
  1. 1.Facultad de Medicina, U. D. Medicina LegalUniversity of Valencia EGValenciaSpain
  2. 2.Facultad de Medicina, U. D. Preventive Medicine/CIBER Fisiopatologia de la Obesidad y Nutrición, Instituto de Salud Carlos IIIUniversity of Valencia EGValenciaSpain

Personalised recommendations