Adult & Child Drug Testing Lab
Hair Exposure Drug Testing (ChildGuard®)
When a child is exposed to substance use, they often face other coexisting obstacles to normal life – neglect, abuse, violence, and other vulnerabilities. Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is a disease that often prevents adults from doing what is in a child’s best interest. Detecting dangerous environments is paramount to keeping the child safe. Testing with ChildGuard can assist where other exposure drug tests fall short.
ChildGuard is the only drug test designed to detect passive exposure to drugs, distinguishing between both native drugs and drug metabolites in hair specimens. Drug metabolites are produced in the body only if drugs have been ingested. Children in drug-exposed environments are most often not using substances themselves, so drug metabolites are typically absent when a child is being tested for drug exposure. Typical hair tests with other labs will only report a positive exposure result if drug metabolites are detected, even when the native drug is in the child’s hair specimen. ChildGuard reports a positive result if either native drugs or drug metabolites are detected, giving much better insight into the child’s environment. ChildGuard can provide evidence of substance exposure in a child’s environment for the past 3 months and can be performed on donors of any age.
A positive ChildGuard test result suggests that the donor has experienced one or more of the following:
- Contact with drug smoke,
- Contact with sweat or sebum (skin oil) of a person in active use,
- Contact with the actual drug,
- Accidental or intentional ingestion of the drug(s).
Our forensic test for passive exposure is the first and only test of its kind. See our hair testing pages for information about specimen collection.
- 13 Panel
- 10 Panel
- 9 Panel
- 7 Panel
- 5 Panel
*Click the green and white plus sign beside each drug class to view the substances within each class.
By Phone: 1.800.235.2367
Business Hours (CST)
Panel Name: Hair Exposure Testing (ChildGuard®)
Panel Description: Hair Exposure Testing (ChildGuard®) Drug Panel
Collection Container: Foil in Secure Envelope
Sample Amount: 100 mg = 200 strands @ 1.5 inches (We recommend weighing the specimen on a jeweler’s scale.)
Storage Conditions: Room Temperature
Transport Conditions: Ambient
Method: Initial screen and confirmation
Turnaround Time: Generally, the standard turnaround time for reporting negative screening test results is the next business day, with an additional 1-2 business days for specimens that require confirmatory testing. Turnaround time begins from receipt of the valid specimen –accompanied by a properly documented valid order– into the laboratory. Some tests require additional time to process and will fall outside the standard turnaround time window.
- White Papers
Hair Ethyl Glucuronide: Uses and Implications 01-Apr-2013
High Yield Determinations 01-Dec-2015
Quantity Not Sufficient 11-Nov-2016
The Shelter of the Law 01-Dec-2015
The Use of Hair Exposure Testing (ChildGuard®) in the Evaluation of Child Physical Neglect/Drug Endangerment 21-Mar-2016
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 second test of a different specimen type be used to prove that a previously taken 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 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.
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 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.
May 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.
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.
What is Child Hair Testing, and how is it different from regular hair drug tests?
Child Hair and Nail Testing are a modified hair and nail drug tests designed to increase environmental exposure detection in children. The assays are often used by social service agencies involved in custody cases.
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.