Field Confirmation Testing for Suspicious Substances  book cover
1st Edition

Field Confirmation Testing for Suspicious Substances

ISBN 9781138112032
Published April 18, 2018 by CRC Press
453 Pages 70 Color & 71 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Frequently a substance found at a port of entry, waste site, laboratory triage facility, or even in a hazardous materials emergency will be labeled and purportedly identified. But law enforcement and other first responders cannot take this claim at face value, as the accuracy is not confirmed and must be verified. A comprehensive handbook for on-the-spot investigations, Field Confirmation Testing for Suspicious Substances provides those who confront suspicious substances with the tools to confirm or deny a labeled identity.

A Complete Range of Testing Protocols

Divided into three sections, the book begins by exploring physical confirmation tests which use methods that involve measurement of temperature, vapor density, radioactivity, and other factors. The author then examines chemical confirmation tests suitable for field use, providing over 400 different analyses, most of which provide a colorimetric result. The book also includes a section on instrumentation. It offers an overview of the technologies used to analyze materials and presents the strengths and weaknesses of the technology so that the corresponding weak or strong result can be used in the overall analysis. The appendix provides two detailed sections on drug and explosives tests.

The tests in this book can immediately generate valuable information in the field which can be used to save lives, conserve property, provide environmental protection, and assist law enforcement in apprehending those responsible for disseminating hazardous substances.

Table of Contents

Physical Confirmation Tests


Air Reactivity

Appearance and Odor

Boiling Point


Flash Point

Heating by Torch

Melting Point

Physical State



Vapor Pressure, Volatility, and Evaporation Rate


Water Reactivity


Chemical Confirmation Tests


How to Select Tests

Index of Target Substances

Index of Tests (Over 400 tests listed alphabetically)



Chemical Detection

Radioisotope Detection

Biological Detection

Nucleic Acid Amplification



Drug Confirmation Testing

Explosive Material Confirmation Testing


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Rick Houghton is a retired Michigan firefighter, paramedic, and hazardous materials technician from the Lansing Fire Department. He has been an instructor at Michigan State University since 1992. He is currently a member of the Livingston County Hazardous Material Response Team and provides training, consultation, and response.


This book makes for an interesting reference guide, especially for Hazmat personnel…

—Cpl. David Rolston, Integrated Forensic Identification Services, Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal, Vol. 43, No.1, March 2010