Fatal Intoxication with Toluene Due to Inhalation of Glue

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Abstract

Two cases of fatal intoxications with toluene due to glue sniffing are described. In case 1, the autopsy did not indicate cause of death, while in case 2, the cause of death was determined to possibly be due to mechanical asphyxia by drowning. As the decedents had a history of glue sniffing, toxicological analyses were performed. Using gas chromatography with flame ionization detector and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) with headspace method, toluene was detected in biological samples. Toluene ranged from 3.81 to 20.97 μg/g, with the highest concentrations observed in liver and brain (13.82–20.97 μg/g) in both cases. Based upon this data, the cause of death in both cases was determined to be toluene poisoning. Toxicological investigations are extremely important and should be considered mandatory in all deaths thought to be due to volatile substance abuse, as well as all deaths that are thought to be due to poisoning in young people.

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