Hair Testing: The Controversy and the Facts

Late last year the American Trucking Association tried to convince Congress to pass legislation that would substitute hair testing for urinalysis as the standard for drug testing. The bill that the truckers urged Congress to amend was The Drug Free Commercial Act of 2015 (H.R. 1467/SHair_Follicle_DrugTest_300x300. 806). Predictably, some in the trucking industry opposed the proposed change calling the science “unproven” while others – most notably Knight Transportation and Maverick Transportation as well as Schneider National, J. B. Hunt Transport, General Motors and Shell Oil have already been using the test to screen potential employees. A bill is on the Senate legislative calendar under General Orders Calendar No 404 as of 03/28/2016.

Some people offer opinions on the controversy. However, many of those people don’t understand what is involved in a hair test. The testing process isn’t new. It is based on proven scientific processes. What happens during the testing process is that subjects first report to us. Then, a section of the subject’s hair – usually the first 1½ inches of hair near the front of the head – is clipped. In the event that a subject’s body hair is too short or a person is bald, hair can still be collected from other parts of the body. This sample is tested. Hair drug tests detect the presence (or absence) of up to 5 drugs in hair. Those drugs are: Amphetamines/Methamphetamines, Marijuana, Cocaine, Opiates and Phencyclidine. The presence of drug are detected for approximately 90 days.


The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) supports hair testing.

To be a more effective and accurate means of detecting drug usage than urinalysis. Because of the HHS’s support of hair  testing, it is clear that the trend is moving towards using it as a substitute for, or in addition to, urinalysis. At AMC we support and are able to provide hair testing and many other forms of drug testing for our clients. We keep up with the science required to accurately screen subjects and we also stay apprised of legislation that affects the business. We are well-informed. We can tell you what is required of employee testing and screening.

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