Rumors abound about exactly how much hair is snipped for hair drug test. Some imagine they will suffer with a choppy bad haircut or bald spot. Others fear they will lose their precious locks and require a hat wherever they go. In fact, quite the opposite is true if an individual visits First Choice Drug Testing, because our collectors are trained professionals. The collector will only cut the small, specific amount of hair needed for the laboratory to test. The hair is typically cut from the crown of the back of the head in a manner where it will not be as noticeable.
The amount of hair needed for a hair drug is approximately 100 milligrams made up of the first 1-½ inches from the root end. Since the weight of hair varies by individual and because drug testing collectors do not have access to highly sensitive weighing scales, it is easier to visualize the required quantity in terms of the width or diameter of the hair specimen collected.
If the hair is more than four inches long, the laboratory requires approximately 120 strands. If placed in a bundle, this quantity of hair would resemble the circumference of a pencil. If laid flat, would be approximately 1 centimeter in width. It is critical that the root ends of the cut hair are aligned and placed with the root ends extending about ¼ inch beyond the pointed portion of the arrow formed by the foil in the collection kit. In order to approximate time of drug use (up to 90 days), the lab will cut and use about 1½ inches from the root end. If the collected hair is shorter than four inches, but longer than a ½ inch, additional strands of hair (in addition to the first 120 strands), or a larger quantity of hair is required to ensure an adequate amount of hair is received to complete testing. If the hair is curly, root ends do not have to be kept aligned and the hair sample size should resemble the size of a standard cotton ball.
If the donor has no head hair or hair shorter than ½ inch long, the collector may use chest, underarm, leg, or facial hair. The amount collected should resemble a standard cotton ball. The collector will always note the source of the hair sample on the hair collection envelope. This will aid in a more accurate interpretation of the drug test result. If body hair is collected, the collector must make sure to collect as much hair as possible. Body hair is usually lighter in weight and more hair is needed for testing.
We have heard multiple times of collectors twisting up a clump of hair and whacking it off with no concern for the donor’s cosmetic appearance. That is a travesty and should never be tolerated. Here at First Choice Drug Testing we treat our donors like we would want to be treated ourselves, with care, compassion, and professionalism, please consider us for your hair testing needs.