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Interest article from ArcPoint Labs about hair and nail testing.

Hair or Nail Testing – What’s the difference? Testing for drugs and alcohol in hair has been gaining market share with employers and courts for quite a while. Now we are seeing an increasing trend in using nail tests to determine drug use. The question that we get asked with these testing methods is, “What are the advantages of both types of tests?” First – Both tests are very effective at determining sustained drug use and give a longer history of both illegal and legal drug use than traditional urine analysis. While hair testing allows us the option of segmenting the hair into ~30 day increments to determine if levels of a drug are increasing or decreasing within a donor over time, we see that the tests have the same overall capability to identify drug consumption. Both hair and nail testing collections are directly observed by the technician and there is no opportunity to substitute the sample. This eliminates cheating and precludes many of the challenges of urine drug testing. Additionally, both hair and nail testing can be completed by opposite gender collection technicians so there is no need to be concerned about privacy issues. Advantage of Hair testing – The vast majority of the population has sufficient hair, either body or head hair, to complete the test. In the case of body hair, it can even be combined from various parts of the body to reach sufficient weight/volume for testing. And while various hair products can affect the testing process these products usually require long-term use and do not normally affect the results in the short-term. There are however products on the market that claim to enable the user to “beat” a hair test and they may have varying degrees of effectiveness. As for detection windows, hair testing is designed to go back approximately 90 days, can identify dozens of drugs and is legally acceptable for court applications. Advantages of Nail testing – The biggest advantage that nail testing has over any other form of testing is the virtual impossibility of masking, adulterating or cheating the test. Coupled with nail results being designed to go back approximately 180 days, the longest testing window, nail tests provide a tremendous asset in determining long-term drug use. The challenge with nail testing usually lies in having enough nail present to complete a collection. Since we cannot mix toe and finger nail samples there are times when a donor does not have sufficient nail to complete the test and must return in 2 weeks when the nail has grown back. We have provided lawyers and judges with wording for legal orders that is designed to preclude cheating, improperly trimming hair/nails prior to collection so that no sample can be collected or intentionally altering the hair to defeat the test. Please contact our office for more information. If you have any more questions about hair and nail drug testing please contact us at ARCpoint Labs of San Antonio: Ph: (210) 340-9992 or at ARCpoint Labs of Austin: Ph: (512) 992-0872