Carbolic Acid (Phenol/Phenic Acid)

Forensic Presentation:
Made by;
Presented by;
Sabahat Siddique
It is an aromatic hydrocarbon that is widely
used as a distinfectants and in the formulation
of industrial solvents ,caustics,germicides and
Carbolic acid is obtained from coal tar by fractional
distillation having(phenolic odour)
Pure carbolic acid consists of cong ,
colourless,needle like crystals.white turn pink on
expsure to light.
It is freely soluble in boiling water,alcohol &oils.
Crude commercial carbolic acid is a dark brown
liquid containing impurities like cresol.
House hold phenol contains 5% phenol
in water but never turns blue litmus
paper red have no acid reaction .however
It forms carbolates (salts)when acted
upon by strong bases.
Phenol absorption:
It can be the result of cutaneous
exposure,inhalation of its vapours and
Fatal dose;
(10_15mg the usual range of fatal dose)
Fatal period:
(death may occur with in few hours due to
respiratory or circulatory faliure or with in
some days due to reusual involvement)
Poisoning from carbolic acid is known as
carblism .
1:skin exposure may burning sensation
followed by tingling ,numbers & anesthesia a
white paque eschar is produced that falls off in
a few days leaving a brown stain.
2:Inhalation of carbolic acid vapours causes
respiratory tract effects in the form laryngeal
pulmonary oedema leading to distressed
breathing & cyanosis.
After ingestion strong odour of carbolic acid in the
patients mouth.swalloing of acid causes burning
sensation in the mouth and throat ,abdominal pain
vomiting .the mucous membranes of the lips and the
mouth become hard and white .
Owing to its rapid absorption ,gastrointestinal
symptoms ,giddiness and insensibility deepening to
coma may be shown.
In CNG stimulation pupils small & contracted, the
temperature drops to subnormal,the skin become
cold and clammy ,respiration slow & pulse small &
Metabolic acidosis occurs in sever cases.
5:Renal faliure may occur due to direct toxicity as
well as due to oliguria & albuminuria
Urine turns slightly greenish.
The urine contains trace of free carbolic acid and
product of phenol((urine turns dark smelly green
because of oxidisation of the substance))
6:The scanty urine contains albumin and blood
casts because of sever irritation of kidney .all
these urinary findings grouped together under
the term.(carboluria)
Carboluria :
Is used to serve as warning of toxic action of
carbolic acid ,when it was being used as an
antiseptic dressing in the past.
1:Urine may show RBCS, proteins and casts
2: Add few drops of 10% ferric chloride in
urine(aviolet) or blue color indicates the presence
of phenol compounds
3:The urine containing carbolic acid also reduces
benedict and fehling solution
1:Skin area should be washed with soap
solution or 25 %alcoholic solution or vegetable
oil or castor oil.
2:Gastric lavage
3:Alcohol has an advantage in that it dissolve
and excrete phenol from the mucus membrane
and sub mucous layer of stomach.
4:Sodium and magnesium sulfate solution can
be used for the lavage
5:DEMULCENT drinks like milk,barley water
or egg albumin are also advocated
For efficient excretion intravenous infusion of
fluid with sodium bicarbonate solution may be
EXTERNALLY,skin appears reddish white in
(a)areas,necrosed and ulcerated .
These changes are notable at the sites like
fingers,angles of mouth,lips, chin etc
(b)The mucous membrane of mouth in
hyperaemic with desquamation and hemorrhagic
(c)Phenolic odour is perceptible.
(a)Oesophagus and mucous membrane of the stomach
shows reddish parchment and prominent rugae.It is
thickened ,more or less brownish in color,looks leathery.
(b)The contents appear dark brown mixed with mucous
membrane imparting smell like phenol.
(c)Perforation of
signs will be found in stomach and upper part of small
(d) Heart may appear flabby
( e)Degenerative changes become apparent in the liver
and the kidney ,if the death is prolonged.
-Preserve viscera and dressed stains with
vomitus, with the saturated solution of
common salt.
-blood may be preserved without any
1:PHENOL was at time a popular suicidal agent.
2:phenol is rarely used for homocidal purposes in
drinking water and even baked in bread but its
phenolic odor renders such attempts abortive.
3:Accidental poisoning is uncommon(it may be
occur through taking crude acid by mistake)
4:It also happened accidently by its medicinal use
5:children may take it as accidently as household
6:chronic intoxication by inhalation of vapors by
industrial source .
7:Phenol in dilution also used to cause
8:During life ,the burn upon lips,chin,and
cheeks due to bleached and hardened
epidermis(appear white)
9:After death on drying these burns will
undergo the usual darkening and
10:Engel estimated the quantity of carbolic acid
excretedby the healthy man living on a mixed
diet is(15 mg in 24hrs).

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