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Understanding Hair Tests for BAC

Hair Test

A less heard of testing for alcohol in the human body is hair sample testing. The most common are breathalyzer, urine, and blood, however hair samples offer another method of testing for alcohol in addition to these common existing ones.

The functionality of hair testing is similar to that of urine testing, and can have similar drawbacks. Likewise, the test results will provide data of alcohol use in the past and not current impairment. The reason we don't hear or know much about this type of testing is because of the rarity of it being used. Hair testing can cost more than urine testing, even though it is a less intrusive method of testing. Other drawbacks are that the tests will not be able to detect any alcohol within a week's past, even though the positive results come up twice as much as in urine testing.

Hair testing cannot be performed using a single strand of hair, but rather a group of them roughly the diameter of an average pencil. These hairs must be an average of 1 and 1/2 inches long. Alcohol testing in hair is primarily used to look into and show alcohol dependency over a long period of time. They can portray the misuse of alcohol in an individual such as an alcoholic, and also the abstinence thereof, during a period of rehabilitation. Some inaccuracy lies when testing for hair because negative results can not rule out certain factors such as normal shampooing of hair as a contributing factor. The majority of hair processes such as hair dye, bleaching, and perms cannot affect the results of a hair test.

However, another downside is that hair testing cannot be conducted on a person with hair shorter than half an inch, or the obvious, with a shaved head. This type of testing is relatively new, and only recently has alcohol been able to be tested in hair. Hair testing was primarily used in testing for drugs, until recent advancements.

The upside to these tests if affordable, is that they can show alcohol use for a lengthy period of time, months and sometimes even years depending on the behavioral drinking pattern of the test subject. They are of course non intrusive, like breathalyzers, and can detect accurate results for everyone from heavy drinkers to social drinkers, and non drinkers alike. Most people would prefer this test to a urine or blood test because they feel it's less of an invasion of privacy in its method.

It makes them less uncomfortable when providing the sample, similar to giving a breath sample during a breathalyzer test. The recent addition of this testing allows people to have another option when being tested for alcohol (and drug) use by employers. Most people don't know that hair testing for alcohol exists yet, due to the fact that it is so new. Little by little companies are finding out more about the availability of hair testing, and how it can benefit them and their employees.

Hair testing has been utilized effectively to detect drug use by a person, mainly by employers. Most of them use urine testing at random to screen for drugs to make sure their staff is not using them. However, when they want to look deeper into the matter, they use hair testing. These tests allow them to see a pattern of previous drug use, and even when it started and if it stopped and continued. Now with the addition of alcohol as a test subject for hair testing, similar patterns can be observed and a more complete judge of character can be derived.

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