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The Effects of Household Corrosive Chemicals on Human Dentition*


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    Research presented at the Showcase of Undergraduate Research at UCF 2005 and 2006; and at the 58th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in Seattle, WA, February 20–25, 2006.

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Tosha L. Dupras, Ph.D.
Department of Anthropology
University of Central Florida
4000 Central Florida Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32816


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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