MS data produced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was considered so precise by 1977 that it was admitted as evidence in a court case. The analysis showed the existence of a pesticide in the tissue of animals from the Siuslaw National Forest in Oregon.
Other high profile evidentiary uses include a capital murder case in 1978 and a court case involving the American Meat Institute. Attorneys in this case claimed that MS analysis should be entered into evidence because it was “widely regarded as the best available technology” at the time.
Toward the end of the 1970s, MS analysis was becoming more widely known among police departments. Although it was considered the most accurate technique available, it was too slow and expensive to become commonplace.
Still, forensic detectives were eager to bring the technology on board as soon as possible. A survey of 100 crime labs in 1973 revealed that mass spectrometers were the most desired piece of equipment.
As scientists fine-tuned the GC-MS process, forensic laboratories started investing in the technology, which is now commonplace throughout the world.