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Fluorescein as a Field-Worthy Latent Bloodstain Detection System

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Identification Volume: 45 Issue: 6 Dated: (November/December 1995) Pages: 631-646
R Cheeseman; L A DiMeo
Date Published
16 pages
Fluorescein was considered to be the reagent with the greatest potential in the detection of latent bloodstains in a California Criminalistics Institute study.
The purpose of the study was to develop and improve the fluorescein technique into a practical field system for detecting latent bloodstains. Material Safety Data Sheets indicate fluorescein is no more hazardous than luminol, presumably in use by many investigative organizations. Also, fluorescein has demonstrated a 20-year history in the medical field of ophthalmology and is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for clinical application in retinal and choroidal angiography. Unfortunately, unlike luminol's single reagent application, fluorescein requires an application of itself followed by hydrogen peroxide. This double reagent application can be problematic, especially on vertical nonporous surfaces, and result in bloodstain pattern distortion due to reagent running. A commercial thickener can be used to overcome this problem, thus affording crime scene photographers greater opportunity to document bloodstain patterns as evidence. 6 references, 3 tables, and 3 figures