Active oxygen washing powder and pollen

Categories: Forensic palynology, Questions answered

It seems there has been some concern in forensic science circles about the effect of active oxygen washing powder, particularly in relation to removal of blood.  Apparently, use of such washing powder can cause a negative result to presumptive blood testing such as Luminol.  The question was asked about whether the washing powder will have an effect on pollen on clothing.

Pollen doesn’t react well to oxidising agents; they are the things that can actually break down pollen and spores (because not much else does).  However, once something has been washed in a washing machine, active oxygen washing powder or not, the pollen load on a garment will not be representative of what was on there before it was washed.  It therefore doesn’t matter about the washing powder’ it’s the action of washing that causes trouble for forensic palynology interpretation.

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Forensic Scientist