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The Effects of Household Corrosive Chemicals on Human Dentition

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Abstract: 

There is a gap in the literature concerning the chemical effects that household products may produce on human remains. The present study examines the effects of household chemical products on teeth. A total of eight chemicals were utilized for this experiment. The corrosive chemical categories include: hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, phosphoric acid, and sodium hydroxide. Two products with each chemical were used, each representing varying concentrations of the corrosive product. Two human teeth were allocated for emergence in the chemical throughout a 24-h period of exposure. Results demonstrate hydrochloric acid as the most detrimental chemical to the dental samples. Sulfuric acid enacted minimal alterations to the teeth, although some etching and discoloration were noticeable. Phosphoric acid resulted in variable changes of the organic and inorganic contents of teeth. Lastly, exposure of sodium hydroxide resulted in little to no change. As hypothesized, distinct effects are observable of each chemical.
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Keywords: acids; caustics; dentition; forensic anthropology; forensic science; masking identity; teeth

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Central Florida, Department of Anthropology, 25000 University Blvd., Orlando, FL.

Publication date: November 1, 2009

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