Hair testing

colored-hairQuestion: Can products and treatments affect hair drug test results? 

Some employers who use hair testing as part of their workplace drug testing program wonder if hair products – like shampoos, sprays, gels, coloring, bleaching, and perming – can have an impact on their test results. We asked Dr. Barry Sample, Director of Science and Technology, Quest Diagnostics, to better explain the potential effects.

  • When shampoos, sprays or gels were applied to cut hair samples, they had little or no effect on positive or negative hair specimens.
  • When normal hair treatments, including bleaching or dyeing, were applied to cut hair samples, they typically did not interfere with test results.
  • When tested under worst-case scenario conditions, most treatments had minimal or no impact on test results for the majority of drugs. When there was an effect, screening absorbance readings became more negative for positive hair specimens, and slightly more negative for the negative samples.

Hair testing for drugs of abuse is the only drug testing method available that provides up to a 90-day drug use history. When compared to urine testing, hair testing tends to provide a greater number of positive test results due to its longer detection window. Hair testing requires a small sample of hair that is collected under direct supervision. Observed collections make hair testing a tamper-resistant screening method in that it’s difficult for a donor to cheat.

Visit our Hair Testing FAQ webpage for more frequency asked questions about hair testing.

To learn more about hair testing, download our case studywhite paper and webinar.

For more information, contact us online.

Taking the High out of High School

by Steve Beller on May 12, 2016

drug-free-high-school-studentsOn April 23, the Detroit Free Press reported that the Detroit Catholic Central High School will begin hair testing their students for marijuana, opiates, cocaine and other drugs. This is one of many examples of a rising trend among private high schools searching for new ways to discourage drug use among teens.

Proponents of random drug testing in schools cite a 2013 study from the Institute for Behavior and Health, which states that “significantly fewer students in the Tested group reported past month use of marijuana and other illicit drugs (cocaine, opiates and amphetamine/methamphetamine) than students in the Not Tested group: 26.3 percent of Not Tested students reported past month marijuana use and 12.6 percent of Tested students used marijuana in this time. Similarly, 14 percent of Not Tested students used any of the other three illicit drugs while 8.5 percent of Tested students reported use of these drugs.”

Schools considering starting drug testing programs should not look at testing as the only means to prevent drug abuse.  According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “if testing is done, it should be a component of broader prevention, intervention and treatment programs, with the common goal of reducing students’ drug use.”

To date, only private schools are permitted to conduct random drug testing on students.  Drug testing in public schools is permitted for students participating in extracurricular activities such as sports. A 2002 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that this practice does not violate students’ Fourth Amendment rights.

For more information about random drug testing, visit our website or contact us online.

Drug Testing Needs Assessment

March 14, 2016Drug Testing

Employers are tasked with making important decisions about how best to keep their workplaces safe, productive and drug-free. An important component of creating and maintaining a drug-free workplace is having an effective drug testing program. And, while urine drug testing has been the standard for decades, there are now many other drug testing options available, […]

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Quest Diagnostics & Labet Offer Hair Drug Testing in Brazil

March 7, 2016News

According to the World Health Organization, Brazil ranks fifth in the world for deaths as a result of car accidents. In addition, research published in the Journal of Addiction shows that some Brazilian drivers have serious problems with illicit drug and alcohol use. These statistics compelled Brazilian lawmakers to take actions to make travel safer […]

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Guide for Drug Testing Laws

September 21, 2015Drug Testing

One of the most critical elements of your organization’s drug testing program is a comprehensive, well-written policy that is both easy for employees to understand and compliant with state and federal laws. State laws for drug testing vary across the country, while many states permit all types of drug testing, some states have unique requirements […]

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Quest Comments for Hair Specimen Mandatory Guidelines

August 5, 2015Hair testing

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a Request for Information in the Federal Register seeking comments on regulatory policies and standards regarding the potential use of hair specimens for Federally-mandated drug and alcohol testing. This publication opened a 60-day comment period to allow the public to participate in […]

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Request for Hair Drug Testing Information

May 29, 2015Hair testing

On May 29, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a Request for Information (RFI) in the Federal Register seeking comments on regulatory policies and standards regarding the potential use of hair specimens for federally-mandated drug and alcohol testing. The RFI seeks comments and questions on several specific topics including: Acceptable locations on […]

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Detect Repetitive Drug Use with Hair Testing

February 12, 2015Hair testing

Workplace health and safety is more important than ever with an increase of workplace injuries, accidents and workers’ compensation claims. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 75 percent of drug users are employed, and the U.S. Department of Labor reports drug abuse causes 65 percent of on-the-job accidents. As these numbers […]

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Hair Testing and the Drug Testing Index

December 10, 2014Hair testing

Compared to other drug test specimen types like urine and oral fluid, hair testing is often preferred for evaluating long-term patterns of drug use. Once the ingested drugs have had time to grow into the hair, and based on the length of hair normally tested, hair testing is able to detect a pattern of repetitive […]

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Ask the Experts: Hair Testing vs. Hair Follicle Testing

July 3, 2014Hair testing

Question: What is the difference between hair testing and hair follicle testing? Calling a hair test a hair follicle test is a common misnomer. We looked to Jarod Rowland, a scientific expert in our Lenexa, Kansas hair testing laboratory, to better understand hair testing terminology and the hair testing collection process. The hair follicle is […]

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