To view the Hair Testing Panels and Collection Instructions, click here.
Demethylated Metabolites of Oxycodone and Hydrocodone in Hair and Nail Specimens by Amy Alexander
Direct Alcohol Biomarkers – EtG and PEth Webinar
Direct Biomarkers of Alcohol Use by Dr. Adam Negrusz
Hair Collection Training Video
Hair Color Bias in Keratin Drug Testing Webinar by Joseph Jones
Marijuana in Hair & Fingernail Webinar
Methamphetamine and Amphetamine in Matching Nail and Hair Samples by Dr. Irene Shu
The Future of Hair Testing
USDTL Hair Test In the News
On The Level 01-Aug-2017
Quantity Not Sufficient 11-Nov-2016
The Long Game 02-Feb-2015
Hair Ethyl Glucuronide: Uses and Implications 01-Apr-2013
The Stability of Drugs in Hair 01-Oct-2012
USDTL Hair Research
Hair Poster Presentations
Detection of Trace Buprenorphine and Norbuprenorphine in Human Hair Using Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA)
Detection of Trace Naltrexone and 6β-Naltrexol in Human Hair Using Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA)
USDTL Assisted Hair Research
Foundational Hair Research
Hair White Papers
Annotated Bibliography for EtG in hair 20-Mar-2014
Hair Slide Presentations
THC in Hair
Effective July 18, 2016, USDTL will be implementing a new way of reporting quantitative results. In order to satisfy accreditation requirement, the concentrations of drugs exceeding the Upper Limit of Quantification (ULOQ) for any given drug will be reported as > ULOQ (greater than ULOQ). The ULOQ will be provided.
Quantity Not Sufficient (QNS) is a result of not having a sufficient quantity (volume) of specimen to test for the panels ordered. The amount of specimen required for collection is directly related to the amount of specimen needed to screen and confirm for the panels we offer. The initial screening uses a portion of the original specimen and the confirmation testing uses another portion of the original specimen. To forensically confirm positives, means running a new test, with a new portion of the original specimen, using a different analytical technique.
It is our first priority to deliver testing results that provide the most valuable information possible for your substance abuse testing needs. To better accomplish this duty to our clients, we are updating our policy concerning specimens that do not have sufficient volume for both preliminary testing and confirmation. Effective April 1, 2015, confirmatory tests that cannot be completed due to insufficient specimen volume will be canceled on an individual drug class and/or analyte basis. We will report confirmation results for each test for which there is sufficient volume of specimen available, giving you access to more information.
Des Plaines, IL - United States Drug Testing Laboratory, Inc. (USDTL), a forensic laboratory specializing in drug and alcohol testing using advanced specimens, has released a new assay to detect zolpidem (Ambien®) use in fingernail and hair specimens. Previously available only in urine and oral-fluid specimens, zolpidem testing in fingernails and hair offers forensic drug testing professionals new, powerful tools to meet their drug testing needs.
*Click the green and white plus sign beside each question to view the answer.
Can a hair test be manipulated by the donor?
Yes. Bleaching, perming, dyeing and straightening can affect the outcome of a hair test. Cosmetically treated hair should not be collected.
Can a hair test be used to prove that a previously taken urine test was inaccurate?
No. The results of any second collected specimen have absolutely no bearing on the validity of the results of the first collected specimen. Furthermore, each matrix has its own advantages, disadvantages and limits of interpretation.
Can a hair test determine how much or how often someone is using a drug?
No. Hair is a reservoir matrix, where drugs can collect and/or degrade over time. When testing any reservoir matrix, you are unable to back-track and determine time, dosage or frequency because there are simply too many variables involved.
Can I use the reported value (the number) from a hair, nail, meconium, umbilical cord tissue, or urine test to determine how much or how often someone is using a drug (either prescription of illicit)?
No. These specimen types act as reservoir, where drugs and their metabolites may accumulate and/or degrade over time. When testing any reservoir matrix, it is impractical to back-track to determine time, dosage, or frequency. There are too many variables involved. The reported values (the numbers) have no therapeutic or clinical value. You cannot use the number to estimate how much the donor used or to what extent the donor was exposed.
Can someone test positive in hair because of passive or environmental exposure?
Yes, drugs are incorporated into hair by three major routes: environmental exposure, sweat and sebum from the scalp and blood flow through the follicle. Environmental exposure however will only generate a positive for the parent drug. Example: methamphetamine only. The other two mechanisms lay down drug and drug metabolites. Example: amphetamine/methamphetamine positive.
Can the drug test from a maternal specimen (such as maternal hair, nail or urine) differ from the result from a neonatal specimen such as neonatal urine, meconium or umbilical cord tissue?
Yes, the results can be different. Each specimen type has its own advantages, disadvantages, threshold to positivity, and detection time window. One test does not refute the other. The test results are cumulative. For instance, if the maternal urine is positive for cocaine and newborn meconium is positive for methamphetamine, the results do not rule each other out. The appropriate interpretation is that the mother consumed both cocaine and methamphetamine.
Can the reported quantitation of drug or metabolite in hair, nail, meconium, umbilical cord, or urine be used to determine the timing of the drug use, how often the donor uses the drug, or the extent of the donor’s drug use?
No, when testing a reservoir specimen type, a specimen type where analytes tend to accumulate, you may not backtrack to determine time, dosage, or frequency. The result is positive or negative for the appropriate detection window associated with the specimen type.
Does race make a difference in hair testing results?
Hair color, not race, is one of the most important variables in determining the quantity of drug found in the hair. Dark hair binds drug tighter than light hair.
Does the sample need to be frozen?
No, the sample may be shipped ambient.
Have results been used in court cases?
Yes, the analysis of a number of tissue types for the presence of drugs of abuse has been used in every state for decades. Specifically, our umbilical cord testing has been used to provide evidence of drug use by the mother in numerous states. Additionally, the detection of drug in umbilical cord was used as evidence of maternal drug consumption in a murder case in South Carolina and that interpretation was upheld on appeal to the SC Supreme Court.
How long can drugs be detected in body hair?
Body hair has a different growth cycle compared to head hair. Body hair may go dormant and remain in place up to one year. A positive result reflects exposure up to 12 months.
How long can drugs be detected in head hair?
Once a drug is incorporated into hair, it begins to slowly leach out due to normal daily hygiene and exposure to the elements. Most drugs have disappeared by three months. Furthermore, the laboratory only analyzes the first 1.5 inches (3.9 centimeters) nearest the scalp. Hair grows at an average rate of 0.5 inches per month.
Why are both ethyl sulfate (EtS) and ethyl glucuronide (EtG) included in urine testing for alcohol use, but only EtG in fingernail or hair testing?
A: For urine testing, it is standard practice in the field of toxicology to include both EtS and EtG, because EtG is subject to bacterial production and degradation if a urine sample is contaminated (e.g. when the donor has a urinary tract infection). EtS is not subject to bacterial production or degradation, and provides a second, more reliable alcohol biomarker in these urine contamination scenarios. Other specimens types, such as fingernails and hair, do not have this issue, so only EtG is measured in those sample types.
What does a positive hair test result mean?
The only interpretation that can come from a positive hair test is that the individual used or was exposed to drug during the three months prior to collection.
Why do we test for EtG in hair and not FAEE?
FAEE is less sensitive and can produce false positives. Hairspray and other hair products can produce FAEEs in hair. There is no enzyme in our hair that can create ETG from those products.