With every spurt in crime rate, there is a somewhat proportionate increase in the number of investigative jobs. Let’s look at what challenges forensic toxicology jobs pose and what are the duties and responsibilities that come with this profile…
Before getting to the details of forensic toxicology jobs, let’s first try and understand the scope and specifics of forensic toxicology as a branch of forensic science. Forensic science, as most of us are aware, refers to the practical application of various other fields of science (biology, chemistry, physics, toxicology, psychology, etc.) for the purpose of investigating into discrepancies and seeking answers for actions which are of legal interest.
Such actions and discrepancies that override the law may be of civil as well as criminal nature. Forensic science is divided into twenty-eight sub-categories. Let’s take a brief look at them before commencing with forensic toxicology jobs.
Scope of Forensics
The history of forensic science can be traced back to the early half of the thirteenth century. The first written record of how crime can be investigated and criminal cases can be solved by applying various sciences is believed to be the Chinese case record named Xi Yuan Ji Lu which was written and compiled in the year 1248.
The following list enumerates the various forensic science’s fields of specialization that collectively comprise the entire scope of forensic science.
- Forensic Podiatry
- Forensic Accounting (see Forensic Accounting Careers for more details)
- Trace Evidence Analysis
- Forensic Anthropology (see Forensic Anthropology Salary)
- Mobile Device Forensics
- Forensic Archeology
- Forensic Video Analysis
- Forensic Astronomy
- Forensic Toxicology
- Forensic Botany
- Forensic Serology
- Forensic Chemistry
- Forensic Seismology
- Computational Forensics (see Computer Forensics Salary and Computer Forensics Jobs for more information)
- Forensic Psychology
- Forensic Pathology
- Forensic Dactyloscopy
- Forensic Optometry
- Digital Forensics
- Forensic Odontology
- Forensic DNA Analysis
- Forensic Meteorology
- Forensic Engineering
- Forensic Linguistics
- Forensic Entomology
- Forensic Geology
- Forensic Limnology
Forensic Toxicology: An Overview
So, what is forensic toxicology? As most of us are aware (and as the term toxic in toxicology suggests), toxicology is the study of various chemicals that act as toxins or poisons when they come in contact with living organisms and tissues. Toxicology is considered as a branch of chemistry, biology and medicine, relying considerably upon pharmacology as well. Toxicology gets the forensic association when the knowledge and expertise that one has in toxicology is used to ascertain the medical cause of death or poisoning when such a case assumes sinister, unnatural and legal proportions.
For ascertaining the presence of suspected toxins within the biological system of the deceased, biological samples such as blood, urine, hair, saliva and other similar objects are used for bio-chemical investigation. Most often, besides toxicology, various other related fields of applied science (such as clinical chemistry, pharmacology and applied chemistry) are also referred to for the purpose of carrying out forensic investigation to ascertain the presence and responsibility of certain toxins as the cause of the unnatural death.
Job Description of Forensic Toxicology Profiles
The duties and responsibilities of forensic toxicologists include the following:
- Conducting research on the deceased and the surroundings of the crime scene for the presence of toxins which can be possible cause of death if violence and bloodshed are not indicated by crime scene investigations.
- On finding significant traces of suspected chemicals, forensic toxicologists apply their domain knowledge to ascertain whether such chemicals could have caused the death or not. For these, they conduct various tests on the dead body with relation to such chemicals and ascertain their effects.
- Forensic toxicologists are also responsible for investigating tampering of evidence and chemical contamination resulting from the same.
Eligibility and Required Qualifications
To be eligible to work as a professional forensic toxicologist, an individual must have a degree in either biology or chemistry. Such a candidate must have opted for physics and mathematics till at least college level. A postgraduate degree or parallel diploma in molecular biology, biochemistry or physiology act as brownie points when applying for jobs in forensic toxicology. UK and USA have some very good colleges that provide education and training for forensic toxicology profiles.
That was a brief overview on forensic science career scopes, job specifications and requirements. This is one of the most interesting careers a graduate in biochemistry or medicine can opt for as it allows you to apply your theoretical knowledge of these sciences for the investigation of crimes and solving criminal cases. It makes you more than just a person of science – it makes you an instrument of law as well.