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NC Department of Health and Human Services
State Laboratory of Public Health
N.C. Public Health Home

Chemical Terrorism and Threat (CTAT) Unit: Analytes of Interest

Toxic Metals in Urine

  • Beryllium
  • Barium
  • Cadmium
  • Thallium
  • Lead
  • Uranium
  • Arsenic
  • Mercury

All of these metals are readily available and highly toxic.

Toxic Metals in Blood

  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Cadmium

All of these metals are readily available and highly toxic.


  • Cyanide is present in everyone’s blood at various levels
  • Cyanide is higher in the blood of smokers
  • Highly Toxic
  • Readily Available
  • Has been used in the past (from ancient Egypt to recent terrorist attacks/plans)
  • Accidental exposures, Suicides, Smoke Inhalation

Tetramine in Urine

  • Tetramethylenedisulfotetramine (TET, Tetramine)
  • Tetramine is primarily used as a rat poison
  • Prohibited in the US and banned in China (1984)
  • Over 1000 deaths in China in the 1990’s and over 800 poisonings in 2002-2004

Volatile Organic Compounds

  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
  • Chloroform, 1,2-dichloroethane, Benzene, Carbon Tetrachloride, Toluene, Tetrachloroethane, Ethylene, Xylenes, and Styrene
  • Readily available
  • Ease of use
  • High Toxicity

HNPAA in Urine

  • Determines the exposure to Tetranitromethane (TNM) by measuring 4-Hydroxy 3-Nitrophenylacetic Acid (HNPAA)
  • TNM indicates exposure to explosives.
  • TNM is also highly toxic
  • Widely available chemical used in various industrial processes as a chemical intermediate

Nerve Agent Metabolites in Urine

  • Determines the exposure to GB (Sarin), GF, GD (Soman), VX, and Russian VX.
  • Extremely Toxic
  • Not readily available*

*Sarin was used in 1995 Tokyo subway attacks and manufactured by the Aum Shinrikyo.

Ricinine and Abrine in Urine

  • Determines the exposure to Ricin and Abrin.
  • Extremely Toxic
  • Both can be manufactured easily from plants found in the United States

Unknowns Analysis

Please contact the CTAT unit (919-807-8571) for any analysis of unknown substances prior to sending.

CTAT Unit Information