Forensic trichology has played an important role in criminal justice delivery system. Hair is encountered as physical evidence in many crime cases. If hair is. Hair examinations and comparisons, as generally conducted by forensic Forensic Science Communications [Online]. . Trichology is the study of hair. Chapter 3 THE STUDY OF HAIR Sept. 3, Trichology The scientific study of the structure, function, and diseases of human hair. Very valuable in Forensic.

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Hair analysis may refer to the chemical analysis of a hair sample, but can also refer to microscopic analysis or comparison. Chemical hair analysis may be considered for retrospective purposes when blood and urine are no longer expected to contain a particular contaminant, typically three months or less.


Its most trichoology accepted use is in the fields of forensic toxicology and, increasingly, environmental toxicology. Microscopic hair analysis has traditionally been used in forensics as well. Analysts examine a number of different characteristics of hairs under a microscope, usually comparing hair taken from a crime scene and hair taken from a suspect.

It is still acknowledged as a useful technique for confirming that hairs do not match. But, DNA testing of evidence has overturned many convictions that relied on hair analysis. Sincethe Department of Justice has conducted a study of cases in which hair analysis testimony was given by its agents, and found that a high proportion of testimony could not be supported by the state of science of hair analysis.

Hair analysis is used for the detection of many therapeutic drugs and recreational drugsincluding cocaineheroinbenzodiazepines and amphetamines.

In this context, it has been reliably used to determine compliance with therapeutic drug regimes or to check the accuracy of a witness statement that an illicit drug has not been taken.

Hair analysis

Hair testing is an increasingly common method of assessment in substance misuse, particularly in legal proceedings, or in any situation where a subject may have decided not to tricholog the entire truth about his or her substance-using history.

It is also used by private tricholpgy who test their employees. Hair analysis has the virtue of showing a ‘history’ of drug use due to hair’s slow growth.

Urine analysis might detect drugs taken in the past three days; hair analysis can sometimes detect use as far as a month, although certain cosmetic treatments e. The judicial admissibility of the test in the United States is guided by the Daubert standard.

A notable court case was United States v. Microscopic hair analysis is the science of comparing several strands of hair under a microscope and attempting to deduce if the strands ‘match’. It was accepted as a forensic science by the s. This technique has been used in criminal investigations to try to tie hair found at a crime scene, or other location of note, and trichplogy if the hair matches that of a suspect.

While a simple hair color match might be consistent with a certain suspect having been at the fprensic — black hair at the fkrensic when the suspect has black hair — microscopic hair analysis began to claim a stronger standard by the s. Rather than fforensic “narrow the field” of possibilities, hair analysts claimed to be able to match a specific person, such that the hair could be ‘proof’ of a specific suspect’s presence.


While the typed reports often hedged the certainty of microscopic hair analysis, witnesses in court would not always be as modest.

The manager of the Montana state crime lab testified there was a “1 in 10, chance” that hairs found at a crime scene did not come from the suspect in one case, for example.

Microscopic hair analysis has a long tradition of being used in crime fiction as well; it was originally popularized in the Sherlock Holmes series before being widely used by the police. Skepticism about the stronger claims used by witnesses in the s and s existed at the time.

Forensic Trichology

Researchers said in that the whole process was inherently subjective, and the FBI wrote in that hair analysis cannot positively match one single person. DNA analysis of old cases from the s and 80s, however, contradicted conclusions about a number of earlier matches on the basis of hair analysis.

Inthe Justice Department created a task force which would eventually review 6, cases byfocusing on the work of one particularly zealous examiner, Michael Malone. At first, these investigations were largely kept quiet; The Washington Post reported that “Instead of releasing those findings, they made them available only to the prosecutors in foresnic affected cases.

Houck and Bruce Budowle.

Criminalística | Forensic Trichology

As the set of cases analyzed was one which would be expected to favor matches strongly in any case — only hair of individuals the police already believed to be potential suspects was sent in — this error rate was considered to be extremely high. DNA analysis, however, proved that Odom was entirely innocent.

In a similar case, Santae Tribble was convicted in at the age of 17 in Washington, DC of murder due to FBI testimony in a hair analysis match of hair found at the scene. But he had three witnesses who gave him an alibi for the time when the crime was committed.

The prosecutor overstated the reliability of hair analysis in identifying a single person, saying in his closing statement that “There is one chance, perhaps for all we know, in 10 million that it could [be] someone else’s hair.

Tribble was fully exonerated in Decemberhaving served 28 years in prison that resulted in severe health problems. The outcry from defense attorneys about the unreliability of hair analysis and overstatement by FBI experts has resulted in the FBI conducting a review of disputed hair analysis matches since Due to what it found, in July the Justice department began an “unprecedented” review of older cases involving hair analysis, examining more than 21, cases referred to the FBI Lab’s hair unit from through Bythese cases included as many as 32 death penalty convictions, in which FBI experts may have exaggerated the reliability of hair analysis in their testimony and affected the verdict.

Of these, 14 persons have been executed or died in prison. The review concluded that in of these trials 95 percentthe analysts gave flawed testimony in court that overstated the accuracy of the findings in favor of the prosecution.

About cases remain to be examined. The Department emphasized its commitment to following up on these cases to correct any wrongs, saying that they “are committed to ensuring that affected defendants are notified of past errors and that justice is done in every instance. The department and the FBI are also committed to ensuring the accuracy of future hair analysis, as well as the application of all disciplines of forensic science. Innew Attorney General Jeff Sessionsappointed by President Donald Trumpannounced that this investigation would be suspended, at the same time that he announced the end of a forensic science commission that had been working to establish standards on several tests and to improve accuracy; it was a “partnership with independent scientists to raise forensic science standards”.


Analysis of hair samples has many advantages as a preliminary screening method for the presence of toxic substances deleterious to health after exposures in air, dust, sediment, soil and water, food and toxins in the environment.

The advantages of hair analysis include the non-invasiveness, low cost, and the ability to measure a large number of, potentially interacting, toxic and biologically essential elements.

Hence, head hair analysis is increasingly being used as a preliminary test to see whether individuals have absorbed poisons linked to behavioral or health problems.

The use of hair analysis appears to be valid for the measurement of lifelong, or long-term heavy metal burden, if not the measurement of general elemental analysis. Several studies, including the analysis of Ludwig van Beethoven ‘s hair, have been conducted in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In a study on hair concentrations of calciumironand zinc in pregnant women and effects of supplementation, it was concluded that “From the analyses, it was clear that hair concentrations of Ca, Fe, and Zn could reflect the effects of supplementation Finally, it could be concluded that mineral element deficiencies might be convalesced by adequate compensations of mineral element nutrients.

The hair is sampled, processed and analyzed, studying the levels of mineral and metals in the hair sample. Using the results, as part of a proper examination or test protocol, [18] practitioners screen for toxic exposure and heavy metal poisoning. Some advocates claim that they can also diagnose mineral deficiencies and that people with autism have unusual hair mineral contents.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about scientific uses of hair analysis. For pseudoscienfic health practice, see Hair analysis alternative medicine. Schema depicting how human hair appears in a scanning electron microscope. Hair analysis alternative medicine. Archived from the original on Retrieved 9 December Archived at the Wayback Machine. Center for Environmental Health Sciences at Dartmouth. Evaluation of analytical methods, environmental issues, and development of reference materials”.

Plausibility of Interpretation” PDF. Archived from the original PDF on Second series, Volume Cynthia Holmes” Archived at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved August 31, The New York Times. Journal of Forensic Sciences.

Retrieved April 22, Retrieved April 18, Biol Trace Elem Res.

Br J Ind Med. Trace element analysis in hair: Altern Med Review ;6 5: A potential for medical abuse. The case of Phar Lap”. Angewandte Chemie International Edition. Retrieved from ” fordnsic Toxicology tests Trichology Forensic techniques.

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