Study: Baby Products Linked To False Positive Drug Test Results In Newborns

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Chapel Hill, NC: Commercially available baby soaps and other wash products that are commonly used with newborns may interfere with the accuracy of immunoassay drug screens, according to data published in the journal Clinical Biochemistry.

Investigators at the University of North Carolina, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, assessed the impact of various baby wash products on drug-free urine samples after a number of false positive cannabinoid screening results were suspected at their institution's newborn nursery.

Researchers determined: "Addition of Head-to-Toe Baby Wash to drug-free urine produced a dose dependent measureable response in the THC immunoassay. Addition of other commercially available baby soaps gave similar results, and subsequent testing identified specific chemical surfactants that reacted with the THC immunoassay."

Overall, researchers reported that four out of seven of the commercial baby soaps tested caused false positive results when added to drug-free urine samples.

They concluded: "We have identified commonly used soap and wash products used for newborn and infant care as potential causes of false positive THC screening results. Such results in this population can lead to involvement by social services or false child abuse allegations. Given these consequences, it is important for laboratories and providers to be aware of this potential source for false positive screening results and to consider confirmation before initiating interventions."

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, "Unexpected interference of baby wash products with a cannabinoid (THC) immunoassay," will appear in the journal Chemical Biochemistry.