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.

My Day in the Lab

by Steve Beller on June 8, 2016

lab_process.jpgMy name is Steve. I’m a marketer. I joined Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions two months ago. My journey has been informative and sometimes challenging as I endeavor to learn a new industry. Today was my induction into “the lab life.” I spent the day watching and listening as our highly-trained (and passionate) laboratory employees walked me through the ins and outs of specimen processing, data capture, screening, confirmation, results interpretation and dozens of other processes.

What really struck me was the depth of the processes involved in making the lab operate: checks, double checks and cross-checks at every juncture in the drug testing process, expensive machines that automate and speed up the process, and technicians at every step working to ensure that every output is correct. The lab takes chain of custody to a whole new level. Every step is documented, signed and dated following well-hewn processes. The lab and its operation reminded me of a factory – a urine, oral fluid and hair testing factory.

I am amazed at the volume of work that gets tested in an industry where hand-written CCFs (Custody and Control Forms) are still the norm. Hard to read, faded, missing and illegible test numbers, donor names, and client ID’s bogged down the process. I can only imagine the impact of the electronic Custody and Control Form (eCCF) when our clients begin to utilize them for federally-mandated drug testing. As the Product Marketing Manager, a big part of my job will be nurturing and driving the adoption of eCCF. Truth be told, before today I knew eCCF was a big deal, but now I understand how truly monumental this evolution will be – not just for our laboratories, but for the drug testing industry as a whole.

My name is Steve. I’m a marketer. And after spending a day in our drug testing laboratory, I have a new found respect for this industry, for our laboratory employees, and for the processes – both existing and forthcoming – that enable us to deliver exceptional quality and fast turnaround times for tens of thousands of specimens every, single day.

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

Taking the High out of High School

May 12, 2016News

On 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 […]

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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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