An agrochemical spreading agent was found near the slightly decomposed corpse of a deceased female. The appearance of the stomach contents suggested that ingestion of a surfactant had occurred before death. The spreading agent was found to contain nonionic nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEOn) and anionic sulfonated naphthalene-formaldehyde condensates (SNFCn). A solid phase extraction cartridge containing a mixed reversed phase-weak anion exchange sorbent (Oasis WAX, Waters) was used to successfully extract both NPEOn and SNFCn from the blood. The cartridge was preconditioned with methanol and acetic acid (AcOH). After the dilute blood sample was applied to the cartridge, it was washed with AcOH, and then NPEOn and SNFCn were eluted with methanol/dichloromethane (7:3, v/v) and 5% NH3/80% methanol, respectively. The concentrations of NPEOn=2-9 and SNFCn=0 in the blood sample were 7.7μg/mL and 1.8mg/mL, respectively. It is possible that postmortem changes increased the concentration of SNFCn=0 monomer by breaking down the polymer. However, the behavior of these compounds in the human body is unclear and further case studies are needed to investigate this result.
- Fatal poisoning
- Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry
- Nonylphenol ethoxylates
- Sulfonated naphthalene-formaldehyde condensates