Evaluation of acute toxicity of europium–organic complex applied as a luminescent marker for the visual identification of gunshot residue

Forensic Summary by Kenneth Ujevich

Due to growing concerns over the amounts of heavy metals that individuals are exposed to when operating firearms, a stronger push has been made for production of ammunition whose primers are free of these metals. In this perspective, a new europium-based photoluminescent complex, Eu(PIC)3(NMK)3, was tested as an optical marker for GSR identification. However, information on the toxicity of this substance is not widely reported, so this study aims to assess the acute toxicity of Eu(PIC)3(NMK)3, using the protocol 423 recommended by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). To accomplish this, the behavior of female wild type mice was observed for 14 days and biochemical tests of various liver and renal function markers were performed. The experiments were begun at a marker dose of 50 mg kg−1, increasing until the dose reached 2000 mg kg−1. The marker for Eu(PIC)3(NMK)3 showed a median lethal dose (LD50) of 1000 mg kg−1, which is classified as category 4 in the globally harmonized system of classification and labeling of chemicals scale. This classifies the compound as one to be of average toxicity. According to the results, this marker is shown to be less toxic than the compounds that make up conventional ammunition, encouraging its usage as a GSR marker.

Caline A. Destefani, Larissa C. Motta, Rayana A. Costa, Clebson J. Macrino, João F.P. Bassane, João F.A. Filho, Elias M. Silva, Sandro J. Greco, Maria Tereza W.D. Carneiro, Denise C. Endringer, Wanderson Romão. “Evaluation of acute toxicity of europium–organic complex applied as a luminescent marker for the visual identification of gunshot residue.” Microchemical Journal, Volume 124, January 2016, Pages 195-200, ISSN 0026-265X, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.microc.2015.08.021.

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