Archive for the 'Poisoning' Category

ExperTox Opens New Lab

Have you ever wondered how a true forensic lab runs? If you are in the Houston area, we would like to invite you to visit us at our Open House on June 16, 2011. See more information at the link below.

Open House Invite

Our state of the art laboratory was designed by President Loretta Anderson and RGR Partnership, LTD and constructed by Tribble and Associates Contractors. The new lab space has over 3100 square feet with the option to utilize an additional 5000 square feet of off-site storage as needed.

The lab was designed with optimal work flow, employee convenience and with environmental sensitivity in mind.  There are separate departments for accessioning, specimen preparation, screening, EIA, ELISA, Heavy Metals ICP-MS, GC/MC, LC/MS, extraction hoods and analyzing (test data). In addition, there is a dedicated department for Certifying Scientist for reporting results.



Poison Prevention for your Household

On behalf of last week’s Poison Prevention Week, we have the Top 5 Tips to help keep you and your children safe from all poisons in your home.

According to the New York State Department of Health, people should keep all poisons, including medications, cosmetics, household cleaners and chemicals, plants and other poisonous substances out of the reach of children.

  1. Child Proofing/Education – Always keep medication in its original container, away from children. Remember to secure all lids after use. Never tell your children that medicine is candy. Educate your children on the dangers of misusing medication. Make sure to read labels carefully before giving medicine to your children or other family members.
  2. Dispose of Medication Properly – while you may have heard that the best solution to dispose of expired or unwanted medication is to flush it or pour it down the drain, that is not safe. Instead, crush the pills and mix them with old coffee grounds, sand or kitty litter.
  3. Storage Solutions – We recommend that you do not store medication in the bathroom or kitchen. The bathroom is warm and moist and can cause changes or disintegration of the product. Poisonous or toxic products should be kept in a locked cabinet.
  4. Do Your Research – You should be aware of household plants that are dangerous to pets, but there are also plants that are poisonous to humans. Do your research on plants in your house and keep them out of the reach of children.
  5. Garage Poisons – Anti-freeze, windshield washing fluid and other similar products should be stored in a locked cabinet. Childproof safety latches can be purchased at your local hardware store.

An unknown poison and toxin analysis tests for unknown chemicals, poisons and toxins that include but are not limited to pesticides, organic exposure chemicals, painting or cleaning products, rodent poison, volatiles and inhalants. This analysis does not test for drugs or heavy metals. No two situations are alike, so contact ExperTox for assistance if you suspect poisoning or toxic exposure.

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Deer Park, Texas 77536 map

Phone: 281-476-4600

Fax: 281-930-8856

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The Dangers of New Fad Drugs

We’ve recently shared with you some information related to the new fad drugs that are currently legal. With more kids ending up in the emergency room, there are more and more details surfacing about danger of these drugs.

In our recent article Rub-a-dub-dub, Drugs in my tub? We told you a little bit about the latest fad drug, bath salt, which has been banned in Europe and is now getting the attention of teens in America. Recent articles say that this drug is much worse than the other fad drug, fake marijuana, K2 or Spice.

According to Dr. J Ward Donovan, central Pennsylvania’s go-to doctor for emergency room physicians on poison questions, since November he has averaged a call a day about bath salt or “synthetic cocaine.” Donovan says that synthetic cocaine is really a synthetic amphetamine like product, meaning its chemical makeup is more similar to meth.

Unfortunately blogs and internet message boards talk about the legal substitute for cocaine becoming all the rage. Being high on fake cocaine has some similarity to the high from smoking synthetic marijuana. The difference, Donovan said, is this: A mild reaction to bath salt is comparable to a bad trip of K2.

Bath salts also come with side effects like delusion, confusion, violence, agitation, high blood pressure, sweating and fast heart rate. According to Donovan, there is one upswing. You can’t get addicted to it.

Rust Payne, spokesman for the federal Drug Enforcement Agency says, “We’re hearing a lot of reports. Poison centers, emergency rooms… The same trends among teens.”

Like synthetic marijuana, bath salts are being sold in head shops. The powdery white substance is priced by the gram and looks like cocaine.

Both synthetic marijuana and bath salts are extremely dangerous. Be smart. Just because something isn’t illegal doesn’t mean it is harmless. There are a lot of unsafe substances out there. These new fad drugs are just two examples.

Tips for Parents from

Get Educated: Learn as much as you can.

Have the Talk: Let them know that you know.

Be Specific: Tell your kids what you see and how you feel about it.

Don’t Make Excuses: You’re not helping if you make excuses for why they miss school or family functions if you suspect drug use.

Remain Calm: Don’t get mad, or start accusing. Be firm, but loving.

Common Medications Can Poison My Pet?

Did you know that things you consider to be safe can be very dangerous to your pet? According to the VPI Pet Insurance company, poisonings cost dog and cat owner policy holders almost $7 million over a four-year period between 2005 and 2009.

The number one cause of poisoning was accidental ingestion of medications, human and pet. Wow! The very thing that we take to make us feel better – can hurt our pet. The truth is, with just a little bit of care, this can be prevented. Put all medications up and out of reach from pets (yes, just as you would from little children), keep all lids on the medications. Last year alone, the ASPCA handled over 45,000 calls regarding prescription and over the counter drugs that pets had ingested!

According to the ASPCA, the most common human medications that cause poisoning are the following:

  2. Antidepressants
  3. Acetaminophen
  4. Methylphenidate (for ADHD)
  5. Fluorouracil (for Cancer)
  6. Isoniazid (for Tuberculosis)
  7. Pseudoephedrine
  8. Antidiabetics
  9. Vitamin D derivatives

10.  Baclofen (muscle relaxant)

If you think that your dog or cat has been poisoned, contact the ASPCA’s Poison Control Center hotline at 1-888-426-4435.

Poisoning with Ethylene Glycol (Antifreeze)?

What? You may not have heard of this, but it is more common than you may think.  It is a very deadly and silent killer. Ethylene glycol is a sweet, odorless chemical ingredient found in antifreeze.

According to the Forsythe County News in Cumming, GA there is a case where a lady by the name of Lynn Turner (now deceased) was convicted in 2007 for the poisoning of her boyfriend by using Ethylene Glycol in 2001 and sentenced to life without parole. At the time of her conviction she was already serving a life sentence for using antifreeze to murder her husband in 1995.

According to Tulsa World, Cooper who was a 3-year old German Shepherd in Bartlesville recently passed away from antifreeze poisoning. Cooper was a drug dog with the Bartlesville Police Department. His partner and trainer, Officer Troy Newell kept Cooper in a carefully monitored environment. No one knows for sure whether this was intentional or not however there are rewards being offered for anyone with information.

The important thing to remember is that it only takes a small amount to make a deadly difference to our pets and loved ones. Please make sure to clean up any spills that you may see to avoid this happening to your pets and loved ones. There are tests that can be done; however they must be done very quickly and treated immediately.

Story on Lynn Turner –

Story on Cooper –

Summer is Here…Protect Your Pets!

Its hot and pets want a cool drink, don’t leave toxins around that they can get into. There are many household items that can actually harm our pets and we want to protect them. ExperTox can test for pet poisoning. Read more about one common type of poisoning at

Waiter, One Bottle of Hand Sanitizer, Please

Unless you are a seasoned connoisseur of fine Scotch or whisky, drinking a proper alcoholic beverage may be a scorching experience that leaves a bad taste in your mouth.  Now, can you just imagine drinking a few pumps of hand sanitizer?

It appears to be one of the drinks of choice for young people in middle school through college.  When the H1N1 “pandemic” erupted last year, many public facilities were placing hand sanitizer dispensers within their facilities to reduce the chances of spreading germs.  However, many had to take them out as quickly as they put them in.  Why?  Because people were stealing the hand sanitizer bottles and bags for consumption.

There is a word of warning on every bottle of hand sanitizer, “for external use only”.  This has yet to stop someone looking for a quick feeling of intoxication.  Hand sanitizer contains may contain ethyl alcohol and/or isopropyl alcohol, ranging from 60% to 95% alcohol content.  Purell’s website reflects a 65% alcohol content in its hand sanitizer, and GermX shows 62%.  Ethyl alcohol is the same alcohol found in drinking alcohol; however, it is also found in perfumes, shaving lotions and mouthwash.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, including our friend, the Southeast Texas Poison Control Center, there were nearly 12,000 cases of hand sanitizer ingestion poisonings in 2006.

Besides ingesting in a liquid form, hand sanitizer is also abused as an inhalant.  Young people are coating their hands with the hand sanitizer, covering their nose and mouth, then “huffing” deeply.  This is similar to inhaling spray paint or fingernail polish remover (see our prior blog on Substance Abuse In A Can – Inhalants).

Are you still having trouble believing this, knowing just the smell of hand sanitizer is bad enough, let alone the taste?  Check out these videos posted on YouTube – your eyes may be opened.

If you have experienced a situation involving hand sanitizer abuse, please share how you figured out what is going on.

One Source…Numerous Options…Differences That Matter!

ExperTox® is a recognized forensic toxicology laboratory, combining advanced technology and science with a human heart.

We use our scientific expertise to provide our customers answers to their substance abuse, use and exposure questions.

We focus our personal character on supporting, caring for and understanding what our clients are going through as they contemplate and proceed through the testing process.

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