Forensic Toxicology

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 245–249 | Cite as

Fatal intoxication with 1,1-difluoroethane (DFE) due to inhalation of a spray cleaner: analysis by GC–MS

  • Suguru TorimitsuEmail author
  • Yusuke Fujii
  • Kanju Saka
  • Hiroko Abe
  • Yohsuke Makino
  • Fumiko Chiba
  • Hirotaro Iwase
Case Report



Animal studies suggested that halogenated hydrocarbons such as 1,1-difluoroethane (DFE) sensitized myocardial tissues to catecholamines and might cause fatal arrhythmia. In this paper, we report a case of a fatality that was associated with DFE abuse, and quantified DFE concentrations in postmortem specimens using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS).


Femoral vein blood, cardiac blood, and urine samples were taken from the autopsy for toxicological analysis. We have established a detailed procedure for quantification of DFE in human blood and urine by GC–MS and have presented its validation data.


The concentrations of DFE in this case were 481, 591 and 201 µg/mL in femoral vein blood, cardiac blood and urine samples, respectively, which were much higher than those in previous cases measured by gas chromatography–flame ionization detection. Thus, in the absence of other remarkable autopsy findings, the cause of death was determined to be DFE intoxication.


To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case report of quantification of DFE in human blood and urine specimens by GC–MS.


1,1-Difluoroethane (DFE) Fatal autopsy case Human blood and urine Fatal intoxication Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There are no financial or other relations that could lead to conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

The analyses of toxic substances were requested by judicial authorities with documentation. The blank blood and urine (about 10 mL, respectively) were collected from a healthy volunteer with informed consent.


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Copyright information

© Japanese Association of Forensic Toxicology and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suguru Torimitsu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yusuke Fujii
    • 1
  • Kanju Saka
    • 1
  • Hiroko Abe
    • 2
  • Yohsuke Makino
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fumiko Chiba
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hirotaro Iwase
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Forensic Medicine, Graduate School of MedicineThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Legal Medicine, Graduate School of MedicineChiba UniversityChibaJapan

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