ASTM standards for fire debris analysis: a review

The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) recently updated its standards E 1387 and E 1618 for the analysis of fire debris. The changes in the classification of ignitable liquids are presented in this review. Furthermore, a new standard on extraction of fire debris with solid phase microextraction (SPME) was released. Advantages and drawbacks of this technique are presented and discussed. Also, the standard on cleanup by acid stripping has not been reapproved. Fire debris analysts that use the standards should be aware of these changes.

Introduction

The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has provided standards for fire debris analysis since 1990. Recently, important changes have been made in the two main standards for the analysis of ignitable liquid residues, ASTM E 1387 and ASTM E 1618 for gas chromatography (GC) and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC– MS), respectively. Furthermore, one standard has not been reapproved since its adoption in 1995 and one has been added. The purpose of this communication is to review the available standards for fire debris analysis and to present the changes in the two main analytical standards. It is essential that fire debris analysts following ASTM standards update their library and be aware of these changes.

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