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Adulterants

What is adulteration with urine drug testing?
This is where a urine donor will add substances to the urine specimen with the intent to render a positive reading for drugs into a negative reading.

How widespread is urine adulteration?
It has been estimated that 4% of the urine specimens submitted in the U.S. for testing are adulterated.   With information that is easily accessible on the Internet on ways to adulterate your specimen, this number will be increasing.

What are these adulterants?
Commonly available household substances used after the urine is collected that include:

  • Baking soda
  • Bleach
  • Detergent
  • Eye drops
  • Liquid chlorine bleach
  • Liquid drain cleaner
  • Glutaraldehyde
  • Iodine tincture
  • Pyridinium chlorochromate
  • Vinegar
  • Water

Commercially available products that are ingested prior to providing the urine specimen that include:

  • Amber 13
  • Clean-X
  • Clear Choice
  • Instant Clean ADD-It-ive
  • Lucky Lab LL418
  • Klear
  • Krystal Kleen
  • Mary Jane Superclean 13
  • Purafyzit
  • Stealth
  • Test Clean
  • THC-Free
  • Urine Luck 6.3
  • UR’n Kleen
  • Whizzies

Do adulterants really work?
Most of the adulterants do not work very well, but do affect the drug testing results.  For instance:

  • Bleach interferes with on-site drug tests, which leads to a false negative result.
  • Nitrite interacts with the GC/MS confirmation procedure for THC and causes a positive THC result by on-site test to fail confirmation.
  • Several commercial adulterants interfere with on-site drug tests resulting in a false negative result.

What are the abbreviations for Adulterations?
Creatinine
Creatinine is the waste product of creatine, which is an amino-acid contained in muscle tissue.
Creatinine levels in normal urine are generally greater than 20 Milligrams per Deciliter (mg/dL).

  • Creatinine levels between 10 and 20 mg/dL may be due to increased liquid consumption.
  • Creatinine levels below 2.0 mg/dL are an indication that water was added to the urine specimen.  This is often called “dipping.”
  • Creatinine levels of 0.0 mg/dL are an indication the specimen is not consistent with human urine.

pH
The pH scale measures how acidic or basic a substance is with ranges from 0 to 14.  A pH less than 7 is acidic and greater than 7 is basic.
The pH for normal urine is between 4.8 and 7.8. 

  • Lower pH levels below 4.8 indicate possible ingestion of acidic substances.
  • Higher pH levels above 7.8 indicate possible presence of basic compounds.

Nitrate
Normal urine should not contain any trace of nitrates.   Positive results for nitrates are an indication of the presence of an adulterant.

Specific Gravity
Specific gravity levels in normal urine will be between 1.005 and 1.035.   Water has a specific gravity of 1.0, therefore if:

  • The specific gravity of the urine specimen is less than 1.005 this indicates the possibility of a diluted specimen with liquid (i.e. water).

The specific gravity of urine specimen is greater than 1.045 this indicates the possible presence of a dissolved solid (i.e. sodium chloride) in the specimen.

How can the adulteration problem be combated?
This problem can be eliminated by the use of adulteration testing products such as:

  • UrineCheck 7
  • Adulterant Check 7

Is Glutaraldehyde an indicator for a tampered urine test result?
Yes.  Some adulterants contain Glutaraldehyde, which could cause a false negative result.  Glutaraldehyde is not normally found in urine, therefore the detection of this in a specimen is an indicator of adulteration.

Summary
Oxidants/Pyridinium Chlorochromato (PCC) will test for the presence of oxidizing agents such as bleach and hydrogen peroxide.   Normal urine should not contain oxidants or PCC.

Oxidants are measured in urine to determine if a donor has cleaned out their system or is trying to mask drugs in their urine. A too high or too low reading can let you know that the possibility exists that the donor has used some type of system cleaner (bleach, PC, and several other additives can be used with unobserved collections).

SG is the abbreviation for Specific Gravity which lets you know whether or not the donor has watered down the specimen. SG too high can show dilution and too low can simply mean that the person was dehydrated or there are a few system cleaners that can cause low SG as well.One note here is that if the donor has a "shy bladder" and drank a lot of water prior to giving the sample SG will be high and it doesn't always mean that the donor has diluted the urine directly (observed collections are important in assisting you to determine this).

pH too low can be indicative of a donor who has used a cleaner but there are instances where a donor has diabetes or specific kidney issues that their urine pH is already low (knowing the donor's medical history is important here). pH too high is also indicative of kidney issues but is also a strong indicator that the client has used something to mask drug use if medical history shows no kidney problems.

Glut and Cre that are too low are indicative of specific system cleaners and the list of these can be found on the SAMHSA website.

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