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The random presence of glass and paint on the clothing and footwear of members of the general population: A US baseline survey at various seasons

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 68 Issue: 3 Dated: 2023 Pages: 790-806
Date Published
17 pages

This study surveyed the presence of glass and paint on clothing and footwear of the general population in the United States.


This study assists the interpretation of glass and paint evidence by filling an existing gap in the background occurrence that reflects the socioeconomic and demographic circumstances in the United States. The collection was performed in a college US city (Morgantown, West Virginia) to determine the effect of the type of clothing worn at different seasons on the presence of glass and paint. Tape lifts and sole scrapings (1038) were collected from 210 participants and up to six clothing and footwear areas per individual. Glass fragments were analyzed via polarized light microscopy (PLM), refractive index (RI), micro-X-Ray fluorescence (μXRF), and scanning electron microscopy-energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDS), while paint specimens were examined by light microscopy and infrared spectroscopy (μFTIR). Higher occurrences of glass and paint were found in the winter season. The winter collection yielded 10 glass fragments and 68 paint particles, whereas the summer collection resulted in one glass fragment and 23 paint particles. The percentage of individuals with traces varied between seasons; 7% of individuals in the winter and 0.9% in the summer had glass, whereas 36% of individuals in the winter and 19% in the summer bore paint. Lastly, when considering the overall garment and footwear areas, glass was detected in 1.4% of the winter set, compared to 0.2% in the summer collection; paint was found in 9.2% of the winter collection, whereas only 4.2% was found in the summer set. There were no instances where both glass and paint were detected on the clothing and footwear of the same individual. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2023