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Hair Weaves and Drug Testing


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Since no studies are done to confirm natural hair that is sold to merchants or individuals are free and clear of controlled substance contamination, the consequences of placing donor’s hair within your own should be considered as a potential threat to your job or status within your family or community.

A case review documented in Greenville, SC of hair testing analysis confirmed for cocaine and metabolites. In December 2007 a subject involved in Department of Social Services determination of child placement for 4 children belonging to Ms. Melanie Howard was accused of positive testing for cocaine in her hair and consequently her children were placed in foster care for further determination of clean drug testing and evaluation. While there were other factors involved in these determinations, another issue was added to study by a positive hair test for cocaine in December of 2007.

Results from several tests from September 2007 to February 2009 were intermittent for positive and negative test results for cocaine in hair. Her results were negative for cocaine until December 2007 where she showed a positive result for cocaine at 21.13ng/mg, three months later in March of 2008 she tested negative and remained so until February 2009 where her results were reported to be 1012pg/mg or 1.012ng/mg. She reportedly had not been subject to the drug and was non trusting of the result so the same sample was again retested and confirmed by the same laboratory. She then decided to have yet another test done on her own from another source on her body (under arm hair) which proved negative for cocaine. The alarming amount of cocaine found in her hair in December of 2007 was of major concern in that it is consistent with one who is a chronic user of the drug and it would have been expected to continue to show positive in her hair in March of 2008 since 90 days had not completely gone by prior to the March 2008 test results. Traditionally it should take 90 days minimum for cocaine to be removed from the hair if one’s hair grows at a traditional rate of ¼” per month. Additionally since she had been reported as a marijuana user and not a cocaine user, the amount of 21.13ng/mg found in her hair may have been considered a fatal dosage based on those results for one that had not engaged in that activity over a long period of time. This result is more typical of an excessive user, daily in nature, and would likely have a tolerance for cocaine that would allow such a high result.

Review of all the results led the question to be asked about hair weaves. She admitted to wearing them and changed them frequently (approximately once a month) and used human hair not synthetic hair. The deduction that led to this inquiry was that body hair traditionally replaces itself approximately once a year and therefore if she had ingested cocaine at any time throughout this time frame listed above (approximately 1 year and 2 months), it would likely have bound to the melanin in her arm pit hairs as well and should have potentially seen at least trace levels of cocaine in her results. This was not the case and was so determined that her hair purchased for her weave that she places herself was most likely the source of contamination. While laboratories are warned of this type of hair mixture and care is taken to avoid gaining anything other than the natural hair from the subject, it appears in this case it may have been undeterminable which may have been which.

Since no studies are done to confirm natural hair that is sold to merchants or individuals are free and clear of controlled substance contamination, the consequences of placing donor’s hair within your own should be considered as a potential threat to your job or status within your family or community.




Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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