Will you cut my hair or pull it from the root for a hair drug test?

Q:

Will you cut my hair or pull it from the root for a hair drug test?

A:

The hair collected for drug testing is cut close to the scalp or skin, not pulled from the root.

Hair drug samples may be cut from any location on your scalp, but are usually taken from the back of your head to minimize the effect on your hairstyle. Only about 120 strands of hair that are 1.5 inches, or longer, are needed to make a full 100-milligram sample.

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To collect a sample of hair from your head, the collector will usually choose three locations near the back of your head and cut a 1-cm swatch from each location. These cuts are made as close as possible to the root, but it is not necessary to include the root of your hair in the sample. If your hair is shorter than 1.5 inches in length, for example when collected from a part of the body other than the head, the collector may need to cut additional sections to get an appropriately sized sample. Each cut is usually 1 cm or less in width, and only one layer of hair is taken so the effect on your appearance should be minimal. Think of it as when your hairdresser cuts your hair. They have to lift part of the hair to get to deeper layers underneath. The collector should take care to ensure the hair removal is not noticeable. They will not leave a bald spot or noticeable short patch.

If your hair is longer than 1.5 inches, the full length of hair is cut and packaged for delivery to the testing agency.

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Written by John Hawes
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John Hawes is the CCO and co-founder at SureHire Occupational Health Testing. John graduated in 2001 from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy. As a former physical therapist, John uses his knowledge of physical therapy and interest in ergonomics and biomechanics to devise fit for work testing.

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