• exposure;
  • forensic science;
  • forensic toxicology;
  • GC-MS;
  • hair;
  • tetramethylene disulfotetramine

Abstract:  Tetramethylene disulfotetramine (tetramine) is a rodenticide that has been banned for many years in China. Since 2005, inhabitants of a village in the Henan Province have been suffering from grand mal seizures. To investigate the possibility of tetramine as the cause, we developed a method to determine tetramine in human hair. Sample preparation involved external decontamination, frozen pulverization, and ultrasonication in 2 mL ethyl acetate in the presence of cocaine-d3 as an internal standard. The method exhibited good linearity; calibration curve was linear over a range of 0.1–20 ng/mg hair. The limit of detection for the assay was 0.05 ng/mg hair. Except for one subject (No. 4), all head and pubic hair samples were positive for tetramine. The concentrations of tetramine in pubic hair were significantly higher than those in the same subjects’ head hair samples. Because of a long retention in body, segmental head hair analysis cannot provide an accurate exposure history of tetramine in the body.