At the scene of a physical crime, tiny bits of forensic evidence are often left behind, such as hair, soil or blood, that can help to crack the case.
And now, according to a group of London scientists, perfume traces could be added to that list. They not only discovered that a fragrance’s chemical components can easily transfer from one person’s clothing to another, but that it can stick there for days.
It’s this attribute which means that perfume could also be used as ‘trace evidence’ along with these other materials.
Scientists wrote in the journal Science and Justice that analysing fragrances could be particularly useful in cases where a crime has involved close physical contact, such as a sexual assault.
“We thought there was a lot of potential with perfume because a lot of people use it,” lead researcher Simona Gherghel from University College London told Stylist.
“We know about 90% of women and 60% of men use perfume on a regular basis.”
She explained that while lots of studies have focused on materials such as fibres or gunshot residue, this is the first bit of research into perfumes.
“We’ve shown that first, perfume does transfer, and second, we can identify when that transfer has happened,” said director of the UCL Centre for the Forensic Sciences Dr Ruth Morgan.
“In the future there could well be situations where contact between two individuals is made and this is a way of discerning what kind of contact is made and when it was made.”
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