Validation Testing

Last Updated: August 28, 2020

Definition - What does Validation Testing mean?

Validation testing when used for workplace drug tests is a procedure used to ensure that a provided specimen is unaltered and usable for testing. This initial evaluation of the sample is performed at the lab or point of collection. During validation testing, the lab technician checks for unidentified substances or other physical abnormalities that would indicate that the sample has somehow been altered and won't render valid results. A test specimen that does not pass the initial validation testing phase will be rejected. Validation testing may also be referred to as validity testing. Under federal drug testing guidelines, validation testing is called specimen validity testing or SVT.

WorkplaceTesting explains Validation Testing

Some individuals subject to workplace drug testing who have used unauthorized drugs attempt to pass their mandatory drug tests by altering the specimen they submit. Procedures such as providing a secured collection site and supervising the collection process are intended to prevent this behavior. As an additional measure, validation testing is used to confirm that the specimen a person has provided hasn't been tampered with. Validation testing uses a series of methods to determine whether a provided urine sample matches the physical and chemical characteristics of a normal sample.

Federal drug testing rules require that at a minimum, each specimen submitted for mandatory federal drug testing be validated using pH and creatinine testing. The sample's specific gravity will also be measured. If the pH or creatinine levels or the specific gravity of a specimen are outside of a designated range this is an indication that a specimen has been altered in some way. Federal rules also require a test to detect any oxidizing adulterants. Individual federal agencies or labs may conduct additional validation tests at their discretion. Under federal drug testing guidelines, if an individual's urine sample fails to meet the necessary standards for validation the results will be referred to a medical review officer (MRO) for further evaluation. It is possible for a test specimen to fail a validation test due to unintentional acts on the part of a test subject. The MRO may consider any benign explanation for the rejection of a specimen as a part of the review process.

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