TRAINING LAB PART 1—over- the-counter drugs
Many sociably accepted over-the-counter drugs could cause accidental poisoning and death, especially to
children. These include alcohol, antacids, nicotine, pain relievers, etc. Aspirin is Salicylic acid and acetic acid.
Acetaminophen or Tylenol is a good pain reliever, which is not as acidic and so is used by people with allergies
to aspirin. Antacids are usually slightly basic compounds used to neutralize stomach acid. Many contain
carbonates, which produce a salt, water and carbon dioxide gas.
Day 1 training lab will help students identify over-the-counter drugs and their reaction to various solutions and
to establish a data table to identify these common white powders.
Day 2 application lab will use the skills and techniques gained from Day 1 to identify an unknown white
powder thought to be used for a possible bioterrorist threat. Unknown white powders have been in the news
lately. Ricin, for example, is a potent toxin that has gained attention in recent years because it could be used as
an agent of biological warfare or as a weapon of mass destruction (WMD). Although a large amount of ricin
would be necessary to produce many casualties, it would be highly effective within a closed environment. Ricin
can be disseminated as an aerosol, by injection, or as a food and water contaminant. Its use as a food and water
contaminant is a major concern. If ricin were used in that fashion, resultant deaths could overwhelm local health
care resources.
Universal indicator (liquid) and pH chart
Ferric Nitrate solution
depression plate
Mortar & pestle
acetic acid
distilled water
safety goggles
magnifying glass
1. Use the mortar and pestle to gring up Aspirin, Tylenol, Alka-seltzer, antacid (white) and place into
druggist fold packets (see video link below on how to do druggist fold
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1NMJUuRZMU )
2. In a horizontal row, place a few granules of aspirin into each of four depression wells on the depression
3. Use a magnifying glass to observe the appearance of each powder, noting its color and consistency.
Record your observations on the data table.
4. Add 5 drops of distilled water to the first depression well containing Aspirin. Record any reactions on
the data table.
5. Add 2 drops of Universal Indicator to the second depression well containing Aspirin. Record any
reactions on the data table.
6. Add 2 drops of acetic acid solution to the third depression well containing Aspirin. Record any
reactions on the data table.
7. Add 2 drops of Ferric Nitrate solution to the fourth depression well containing Aspirin. Record any
reactions on the data table.
8. Repeat steps 2-6 with each of the remaining white powders—Tylenol, Alka-seltzer and antacid cleaning
the depression plate between each type of powders.
9. Obtain the “unknown” powder from your teacher and identify the powder using steps 2-6 and comparing
to your data table results.
Analysis of Drugs Data Lab Sheet
Identification of over-the-counter drugs
H20 reaction Color & pH acid reaction Fe+3 reaction
A bioterrorist attack is the deliberate release of viruses, bacteria, toxins, or other harmful agents used to cause
illness or death in humans, animals, or plants. They may be spread through the air, water, or in food. They are
typically difficult to detect and do not cause illness for several hours to several days---allowing the suspect
plenty of time to disappear. Many of the toxic powders are found in nature but they can be modified by a
terrorist to make them more dangerous. Some examples of these toxic agents are botulism, plague, anthrax,
smallpox, tularemia (rabbit fever), brucellosis, ricin toxin, cholera, Q fever, and viral encephalitis. Some of
these diseases have no cure; others may be treated if diagnosed early.
View bioterrorism and forensic science power point presentation in class.
THE CASE OF THE WHITE POWDERS--The white powder you were given today has been taken from a
suspected bioterrorist terrorist apartment. Internet chatter has revealed threats indicating that an act of
bioterrorism will soon be released that could cause Plague, Eola Virus, Anthrax, Brucellosis, Botulism or
Smallpox. The FBI has reasons to believe that the suspect was planning on releasing a toxic aerosol substance
at an upcoming sporting event.
Each evidence packet has a potential danger of becoming an aerosol and be transmitted to the air. Therefore
you will need to perform the lab inside a Containment Work Station (clear tub with mounted rubber gloves).
1. Follow the Chain of Custody.
2. Create a procedure to test each of the evidence packets provided to your team. Then use the procedure
to identify each of the powders.
3. Research and determine which of the following drugs you would recommend to treat victims should a
bio-hazard be discovered:
 Streptomycin—treatment for Tularemia (Francisella tularensis) and Plague (Yersinia pestis)
 Rebetol (Ribarvirin)—treatment for Ebola virus
 Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) – treatment for Anthrax (Bacillus anthracis)
 Rifampin—treatment for Brucellosis (Brucella melitensis)
 Trivalent Equine Antitoxin—treatment for Botulism (Clostridium botulinum)
 Cidofovir—antiviral agent; treatment for Smallpox (Variola)
4. Document your procedures, results, and your recommendations in a lab report.
Application Lab—This case will be using white powders to simulate toxic bioterrorism powders
Student teams will investigate evidence packets provided by the teacher; all of the testing must be done within
the aerosol containment work station.
 evidence code packets #001-#009
 Distilled water in bottles with caps
 Universal indicator (liquid) and identification chart
 Ferric Nitrate solution in bottles with caps
 Acetic acid in bottles with caps
 Acid solution (vinegar) in bottles with cap
 Lugol’s solution (iodine)
 Sodium Carbonate
 Mini pipettes (to use with Lugol’s solution)
 2 depression plates per lab team
 Toothpicks (no less than 40/lab team)
 Non-latex gloves (1 pair per student)
 Lab safety goggles (1 per student)
 Containment work station
 Chain of Custody form
 Lab worksheet (see attached)
Identification of Simulated BioHazard White Powders
Evidence Code
H20 reaction Color & pH acid reaction Fe+3 reaction
Based on your data table from the training lab, do you have any non bio-hazard powders? __YES __NO
If yes, what is the evidence code and name of the powder(s):
Based on the data table description provided by the teacher, do you have a bio-hazard powder? __YES __NO
Which Evidence Code and name of the suspected bio-hazard? _______________________________________
Teacher Prep for application lab
Make aerosol containment work station
 1 Clear 30-40 gallon clear plastic tub with lid
 4 sets of Extra large rubber gloves that extend over the wrist
 Glue and/or duct tape
 Rotozip or drill with fine bit (to make holes in plastic tube)
Create a data table of results for each white powder and then provide to students after they test their powders to
see which contains the bio-hazardous material. Provide each team of students with one bio-hazard and two non
bio-hazard (total of 3 evidence packets) evidence packets to test.
Baking soda (Plague evidence code #001)
Calcium Chloride (Ebola virus evidence code #002)
corn starch (Anthrax evidence code #003)
Plaster of Paris (Brucellosis evidence code #004)
Table sugar (Botulism evidence code #005.)
table salt (Smallpox evidence code #006)
Alka-seltz (non bio-hazard evidence code #007)
Antacid (non bio-hazard evidence code #008)
Aspirin (non bio-hazard evidence code #008)
Place each of these white powders into individual druggist fold packets and marked with evidence code
druggist fold packets (see video link below on how to do druggist fold
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1NMJUuRZMU )