Crime scene investigators are changing their procedures for getting fingerprints, which they say is the result of more widespread use of recycled plastics. According to this story from NewScientist magazine's Web site, fingerprint experts at the United Kingdom's Office Scientific Development Branch are working on a new manual for lifting prints from plastic surfaces. "We noticed there were changes in the plastic products on the market around two to three years ago," Vaughn Sears, a project manager in the branch's Fingerprint and Footwear program, told the magazine. He said products made with recycled content may look the same, but CSI officers have to learn to adapt to the different physical and chemical properties of the materials in order to get good fingerprints. "These new products are made from an unspecified mix of polymers, which makes them much more difficult to work with," Sears said. I wonder if the problem is really recycled plastic, or if it could be some changes in the additive formulations. Maybe "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" will have to bring Gil Grissom and Sara Sidle out of retirement to solve this mystery.
Are recycled plastics creating CSI headaches?
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