Can Hair Contaminate A Urine Sample?


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Matthew Porter answered
Whether hair in a urine sample 'contaminates' it depends on the standards set by the specific urine testers. Since hair is a commonly used drug testing method, it is certainly not guaranteed that the discovery of hair would completely compromise a drug test. However if there is doubt about whether the hair and urine belong to the same person, it could well prove the case that testers would deem the sample in question to be 'untestable'.

There are five common types of drug test. These are:

• Urine drug screen - the urine will be collected from the employee or patient at a remote location, sealed and sent to a testing laboratory for screening
• Hair testing - particularly common for testing for the presence of alcohol in a person's system. The Society of Hair Testing has set guidelines for this procedure
• Saliva - only generally useful in detecting the usage of substances within the previous few hours, rather than longer term
• Sweat drug screen - patches are attached to the skin to collect sweat over a period of between one and four hours. Often used when urine testing is not practical
• Blood - measures whether or not a drug is in the body at a particular time

A drug test is a technical analysis of a type of biological specimen that is used to determine whether a certain drug is present or not. Drug testing is commonly used within sport in order to detect the presence of prohibited performance-enhancing steroids. It is also used by law enforcement agencies to detect the presence of illegal substances such as cocaine, heroin or cannabis.

The length of time that a substance can be detected for varies depending on the substance and the type of drug test.

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