Blog Post

Testing the Wash

At Lextox, we understand that the reliability of results is your most important consideration when looking for a drug and alcohol testing laboratory. In our ISO 17025 UKAS accredited laboratory, we have a number of procedures in place to deliver this accuracy, one of these is washing hair sections to remove any external exposure.

Why wash the hair?

As recommended by the Society of Hair Testing (SoHT), at Lextox every hair section is washed individually prior to analysis to minimise/eliminate any external contaminants that could be present on the outside of the hair.

Lextox’s UKAS validation methods have proven that the wash procedures employed at our laboratory are robust and remove external contamination. The use of methanol to wash hair samples is considered to be the most effective for decontamination, and is the method applied by Lextox.

What about passive exposure?

Washing hair sections in advance of the analysis helps to minimise the impact of passive exposure. Our Experts analyse hair samples and their metabolites, this is a substance produced by the body when a drug is ingested and can be used to indicate direct usage. Reporting cut-off levels are also applied to minimise the detection of drugs from people who are exposed to them and are in place to show repeated use of a drug.

When hair is analysed from children, which Lextox defines as anyone under the age of 12, there are extra measures in place and it is standard protocol to also analyse the corresponding wash samples. This provides vital additional information (if drugs are detected) as to whether the likelihood is from ingestion of that particular drug or external contamination of the hair. Lextox is able to analyse the hair sample washes in all cases, if required.

What does the family court say?

In a September 2017 child custody case the Honourable Mr Justice Peter Jackson stressed the need to understand many factors including the laboratory sample wash. The importance of washing every sample to minimise/eliminate any external contamination on the outside of the hair that may affect the analysis was also emphasised, a process that Lextox has always followed. If you would like to know more about this case, details can be found here.

From the moment a hair sample is collected, there is a strict chain of custody procedure in place that prevents contamination. Lextox works to right first time processes and quality assurance procedures, meaning our reports are accepted in every UK family court.

Looking for a reliable laboratory to deliver fast results, without compromising accuracy? Talk to one of our Experts, call 029 2048 4141 or email experts@lextox.co.uk.