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We Offer the ChildGuard Hair TestDetermines if children have been exposed to drugs.More Information
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Hair Testing FAQ

What is Hair Drug Testing?
Since hair growth is fed by the bloodstream, the ingestion of drugs of abuse is revealed by analyzing a small sample of hair. Our testing method measures the drug molecules embedded inside the hair shaft, eliminating external contamination as a source of a positive test result. Hair testing results are not altered with shampoos or other external chemicals.
What time period does hair testing cover?

For head hair, the standard window of detection is 90 days which uses 1.5 inches of hair. However, longer and shorter timeframes are possible. Each ½ inch of head hair provides about a 30-day history of drug use.

Body hair samples cover approximately a 12 month timeframe for results. Compared to urine based testing; cocaine, methamphetamine, opiates and PCP are rapidly excreted and usually undetectable in about 72 hours after use.

How effective is Hair Testing in detecting drug users?
In side-by-side comparison studies with urinalysis, hair drug testing has uncovered significantly more drug use. In two independent studies hair drug testing uncovered 4 to 8 times as many drug users as urinalysis. Keep in mind that this test is designed to catch a moderate to heavy user, not a one or two time user.
How much hair is needed?
A standard test with GC/MS, GC/MS/MS or LC/MS/MS confirmation requires 60+ milligrams of hair or approximately 90 to 120 strands.
Can an over the counter or prescription drug cause a false positive result?
The potential for substances such as over-the-counter medications to cause a false positive screening result does exist because of the built in back up measures. To eliminate the possibility of reporting a false-positive due to cross-reactivity, all positive results are tested again by GC/MS, GC/MS/MS or LC/MS/MS. We also use a Medical Review officer (MRO) to rule out a positive result due to a valid prescription medication at no additional fee.
How do cut-off levels get established?
The cut-off levels are generally standard and accepted industry-wide. Click the CutOff Levels page for details.
How long are test reports kept on file?
Test reports are retained for a period of two years or as mandated by law.
What is done with the excess hair that is not tested?
The hair not used from the time period being tested (i.e. three months equals about 1.5 inches) is stored in the chain-of-custody sample acquisition pouch. Hair is stored for a one year period at the Lab.
Can a hair test be beaten?
At this time there are no known successful adulterants for hair tests. Since hair tests analyze the drugs inside the hair shaft, external contaminants/chemicals have little to no effect. Bleaches, shampoos and external contaminants cannot significantly alter test results.
Can hair color impact Results?
It has been shown experimentally, through actual hair samples, as well as determined in court that hair color has no significant impact on results.
What is the shortest time period that can be accurately evaluated?
The minimum time period is approximately two weeks, about 1/4 inch of hair. The minimum sample is based on weight not strands of hair so a larger area of hair will be cut for short hair.
Can external exposure to drugs, like marijuana smoke, affect the Hair Test results?
To rule out the possibility of an external contaminate for marijuana analysis (i.e. marijuana smoke), only the metabolite (THC-COOH) is tested. This metabolite is only produced by the body and cannot be an environmental contaminant like smoke. (Only the ChildGuard hair test for children is designed to detect drugs by exposure to smoke.)
Can tests be run on people with little or no hair?
Hair can be collected from several head locations and combined to obtain the required amount of hair. In addition, body hair may be used as a substitute to head hair. In the rare case where no hair is collectable, urine, saliva and nail testing may be utilized. Only nail testing covers the same time frame as hair testing.
Does body hair give the same type of results as head hair?
Yes, body hair can be used to test for the five standard drug classes, though body hair growth patterns are different than head hair. Most body hair is replaced within approximately one year. This means a test done with body hair will be reported as drug usage during approximately a one year timeframe. Body hair can also be used for the 7 to 15 panel tests but the results sheet will not specify a 1 year time frame even though it will test for drug usage covering about one year.
Can hair collected from a brush be used?
Yes, but the test will be reported as having an "anonymous" donor. We cannot attribute the sample to any specific person and we cannot determine the time frame of the test, so the test result is not legally defensible. The test will only report that the sample submitted had the reported drug metabolite components indicated.