Analytical toxicology

Analytical toxicology staff work in laboratories to detect, identify and measure drugs and other potentially harmful chemicals in body fluids for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of poisoning.

Your main role in an analytical toxicology laboratory is to diagnose poisoning. You could be diagnosing a range of poisonings from a drug overdose to lead poisoning following contamination of a water supply.



Some diagnostic tests can be performed quickly, especially if the symptoms or signs show the cause of poisoning. In other cases, you may need to search for a wide range of poisons and other substances using specialised equipment to be able to make a diagnosis.

As a scientist in analytical toxicology, you’ll also provide an advisory service for a range of healthcare professionals, the police and coroners.

Working Life

You could work for an NHS hospital trust or other NHS organisations. There are also opportunities with Public Health England. You’ll work as part of a team including other healthcare science staff, physicians and nurses.

Typical work may include:

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