The Toxicology Lab at HNL LAB MEDICINE is a state-of-the-art facility that performs a variety of drug testing in accordance with clinical guidelines. The Toxicology Division provides quality laboratory services to the community, and is committed to educating the public about various health issues. The Toxicology Lab provides consultation, education, and support to the investigation of suspected drug exposures.
Forensic toxicology is a type of forensic science that is conducted for legal and medical purposes. During postmortem investigations, toxicologists test for the presence of prescription drugs, illicit drugs, over-the-counter medicines, and chemicals. To determine the exact cause of death, toxicologists collect samples of urine, blood, and tissue from the victims body. To increase the accuracy of the results, toxicologists often collect samples from different body parts. This includes urine, brain, and liver samples, as well as vitreous humor, a clear gel found in the space between the retina and lens of the eye.
The detecting window is a period of time during which a drug remains detectable in a sample if the concentration is below a pre-determined cut-off. Because drug concentrations in urine vary so much, it is often impossible to determine whether a person is under the influence of a drug by the presence of a substance in their urine. Blood testing provides a more accurate diagnosis and faster turnaround time.
Toxicology laboratories analyze and evaluate drugs and chemicals for human and animal health. Some people die from poisoning in recreational settings, such as inhaling solvents or ingesting plant-derived substances, while others are exposed due to occupational or environmental hazards. Suicidal ingestion of toxic substances can occur as a result of ingestion of pesticides or cyanide. Toxicology laboratories alert doctors and other health care providers to potentially harmful substances and determine the best treatment.
The methods of toxicology labs vary, depending on the species used. Rats and rabbits are common laboratory animals. Rats are inexpensive to house and breed, and are widely available. They also provide reliable results. Some organizations restrict the use of dogs or non-human primates. Nevertheless, these species have long been used in laboratories. However, they cannot replace in vivo tests. In the meantime, newer methods are developing.
Toxicology laboratories have an ongoing obligation to train and educate their staff. In addition to education and training, the staff is encouraged to engage in professional development activities. While casework should be the primary focus, professional development should also include involvement in professional organizations and publications. In addition to maintaining permanent official training records, the staff should pursue continuing education opportunities that will help them advance in their profession. These activities are often recognized as Continuing Education Units (CEUs) by Certification Bodies.
The Toxicology Laboratory is comprised of fourteen employees. These include 12 professional forensic toxicologists and two support staff members. Since the laboratory was established more than 60 years ago, it has grown to become one of the premier training facilities for forensic scientists around the world. To learn more about the lab’s staff, read below. We will explore the different job titles and responsibilities for each member of the Toxicology Lab staff.
Projects funded by Toxicology Lab
The Toxicology Lab funds several important projects each year. These projects have a wide range of objectives and can be categorized into three categories: environmental chemistry, toxicology, and public health. These categories cover all aspects of toxicology, including exposures, human health and ecosystem health, and environmental hazards. These areas also cover toxicology education, public health, and professional development. Toxicology is a vital area of study with many applications and specialties.
Traditional toxicology studies are very labor-intensive and time-consuming. Only 1% of the over 250,000 chemicals in use today have been adequately tested. This means that it takes about 10 years to bring a new drug to the market. Systems toxicology, in contrast, examines the interactions between multiple chemicals in a single system. This approach is also cost-effective, as it can save the time and money required for animal testing.