What is Adulteration?

For an employee, taking a urine drug test can be a stressful experience. In many occupations, failing a drug test can mean instant dismissal and loss of livelihood. For this reason, those who fear that their drug use will be detected may resort to radical measures to make sure that they are not discovered.

Most drug screening at work involves urine drug testing. This type of drug testing is advantageous for the employer as it allows them to see if the donor has used drugs in the recent past. However, the disadvantage with this type of testing is that it is open to abuse. Donors may try and cheat the test by tampering with the urine sample they provide in order to get a false negative drug test result.

What is Adulteration?

Any attempt to change a drug test result by tampering urine specimen is know as adulteration. This kind of behaviour can lead to false positive drug test results as the drugs in the sample may be destroyed by tampering.

Drug users may try several ways of trying to beat a drugs test. This may involve adding substances to the specimen or diluting the specimen with water or other liquids.

What are Adulteration Test Strips?

Adulteration test strips have been designed as a cost-effective way of detecting if a urine specimen has been adulterated. They are also known as specimen validity tests. These types of tests offer results within one minute.

Typical Parameters on Adulteration Test Strips

Creatinine is found in urine as a waste product. It can be used as a marker for drug testing. Dilution of a urine sample can be either in vivo (meaning the excessive volumes of liquid were drank by the donor) or in vitro (meaning that liquid was added to the urine sample after collection). These are most seen forms of specimen tampering.

In vivo dilution is often called “flushing” and involves the donor drinking excessive amounts of water or using diuretics such as herbal teas to try and foil the drug test.

Low creatinine may indicate dilute urine. A lack of creatinine in a specimen (<5 mg/dl) is indicative of a sample not consistent with human urine.

Specific Gravity also tests for sample dilution as it measures the “viscosity” of a urine sample.

Normal human urine has a specific gravity (SG) ranging from 1.003 to 1.030. Any sample that is measured outside of this range may have been adulterated.

Nitrite. Some may try and cheat a drug test by adding a commercial

A nitrite check for adulterants will detect if a commercial adulterant such as Whizzies or klear has been used to try and eliminate the presence of THC-COOH.9 (cannabinoid metabolite) from urine. Nitrites should not be present in urine so a positive result would generally indicate adulteration.

Glutaraldehyde is a chemical found in some commercial adulteration agents such as Clear Choice and UrinAid. The presence of this compound in a urine sample may indicate that the specimen has been adulterated.

pH – This test will detect the use of alkaline or acidic adulterants in urine. Usual pH levels are in the range of 4.0 to 9.0, anything out of this range may well have been tampered with.

Oxidants/PCC – Agents such as bleach, hydrogen peroxide and pyridinium chlorochromate (UrineLuck) are popularly used adulterants. Oxidants or PCC are not found in normal human urine so their presence shows that adulteration has taken place.