A recent study has revealed that Cat Litter could prove to be the latest tool for Crime Scene Investigators to provide clues to help them catch arsonists.
According to forensic scientists, cat Litter is able to detect traces of petrol on hard surfaces including concrete, much more easily than by using absorbent material.
A wide range of cat Litter contains Sodium Bentonite, a mineral which retains petrol on its surface.
At present Crime Scene Investigators (CSI) rely on sniffer dogs to detect petrol but owing to the fact that Â many CSI units often arrive at the scene of the crime some time later after the fire has taken place much of the petrol will have evaporated or soaked into the floor.
A number of products have been used by the police investigating arson to avoid having to digging up concrete floors which include, sand, flour, mashed potato and ST’s, but although they haven’t yet used cat litter, the scientists found it was by far the best absorbent.
There are 200 complex components that make up petrol and at least 15 of them needed to be detected by CSI experts to prove the presence of petrol when used in a court case.
“There are currently no reliable, or standard, products used by CSIs to sample petrol for later detection.
“However, our research has shown that cat litter is the best product available and, most importantly, fulfils the criteria laid down by UK courts”, said Garry White a PhD student at Anglia Ruskin University, UK.
Scientists now hope to adapt cat Litter to improve its ability to uncover other flammable materials including diesel with a specific aim to develop a universal absorbent to detect ignitable liquids to contribute to a standard method used by CSI investigating arson and acceptable by justice courts right across the globe.