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Hair Sampling Tests To Be Used To Catch Sports Drug Cheats

Andis Clipper

Hair Sampling Tests To Be Used To Catch Sports Drug Cheats

Liquid chromatography will soon be used to track down drug cheats in sports.  Previously hair-sampling techniques were used to identify criminals, rapists or identifying unfit parents in custody battles.

The liquid chromatography tests offered by judicial system scientists will test for anabolic steroids, enabling accurate systematic identification of doping offenders.

The new method using hair strands will do away with urine testing.  The problem with urine testing is that it only detects illegal substances between two and five days after they have been ingested.

Hair samples provide a telltale history of a person's consumption patterns for up to a year, depending on the length of the hair.  In the past athletes taking drugs would stop taking them a few days before a urine test.  With hair tests, there is a much longer window of time where drug use can be detected.

Pascal Kintz, President of the International Association of Forensic Toxicologists was quoted as saying about hair testing "The method works on the phenomenon that on average, human hair grows by 1cm a month, thus even cheats with a number one crop (3mm) cannot dodge detection, only if they put a stop on their drugs intake ten days before providing a sample."It's also possible to carry out this test on body hair.  Athletes with bald or wet-shaved heads can't automatically evade drug suspicion since body hair can be used instead.

Usually, the method is used in biochemistry.  It's also rumored that Britney Spears, the American pop singer, shaved her head to save herself from hair drugs test ordered by a judge during a custody battle with her former husband.

The test only requires a tuft of hair about the diameter of a pencil in length and one only needs a sample 11/2in in length to provide a 90-day drug use history.

Hair testing is the gold standard for cases where children are at risk which makes it a great test for athletes.

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