Hair Alcohol Test Cost: How Much and What are the Contributing Factors to Price?
16 October, 2023
Hair alcohol testing is becoming increasingly popular due to its accuracy and ability to detect long-term alcohol consumption. However, the cost of these tests can vary significantly. It depends on various factors like the location, availability of the testing facilities, and other services necessary. Moreover, lab fees can affect the hair alcohol test cost because the sample needs to be sent to a laboratory for analysis. Generally, the price can be anywhere between $50 and $200 per sample.
People may need to undergo testing for various reasons. They can be subject to court-ordered testing, it can be a requirement to obtain certain types of employment, or simply because they are concerned that their alcohol use may be impacting their health and well-being. The next sections will present the definition, procedures, and accuracy of hair alcohol testing. Whether it is for personal reasons or a legal requirement, knowing this information can help them plan and budget accordingly.
Hair Alcohol Test Cost: Definition and Price
Hair alcohol testing determines the presence and concentration of alcohol in the system of a person through the analysis of hair samples. Many consider this testing type highly accurate, as it can provide a longer window of detection compared to other methods such as urine or saliva testing. Thus, it can be quite expensive. On average, a hair alcohol test cost can range from $50 to $200.
The pricing can vary depending on several factors such as the testing facility, location, and the specific services labs or kits offer. Overall costs typically include the collection process, sample analysis, and a detailed report of the results. It is important to note that people may pay additional costs if confirmatory testing or analysis of specific alcohol metabolites like ethyl glucuronide (EtG) is necessary.
Specialised labs commonly perform the most expensive hair tests. They use advanced techniques to detect even trace amounts of ethanol. While the cost may seem higher compared to other testing methods, it is important to consider its advantages.
Benefits of Hair Follicle Test
Hair follicle tests have many benefits. Here are some of them:
- Extended detection window – It can detect alcohol use over a longer period, typically up to 90 days. Thus, it is a valuable tool in situations where the detection of long-term or excessive alcohol consumption is crucial.
- Difficult to tamper with – Unlike others, hair testing is difficult to tamper with or cheat. Technicians collect and handle the samples under strict supervision, making it harder for individuals to adulterate their samples.
- Non-invasive collection procedure: Hair follicle testing involves a simple process. It is a more comfortable option compared to blood or urine tests.
Hair Alcohol Test Cost: Procedures
Hair testing procedures involve the use of high-quality equipment and laboratory services. Hence, the hair alcohol test cost can be costly. People typically get the test in laboratories, but they can also purchase home-based kits. A collector from a lab will take samples from the hair shaft in a manner that follows strict guidelines. They will cut a small section of hair as close to the scalp as possible.
Those who will do the test on their own need to follow specific steps to ensure accuracy. After the sample collection, they must place it in an alcohol test cup, which is typically included in a testing kit. This cup will have an absorbent material that will detect the presence of alcohol in the sample. The cost of this kit can vary depending on the type and brand.
Once the specimen is collected, technicians and individuals alike send it for laboratory analysis. Qualified professionals provide the interpretation of results or the provision of a detailed report. It is essential to contact a reputable testing facility to inquire about the process. They can also provide more information associated with the test.
How to Prepare for a Test
When preparing for testing, it is important to follow a few guidelines. It is recommended to abstain from any kind of alcohol consumption for at least 72 hours before the test. This will help eliminate any traces of alcohol metabolites in the hair sample.
Furthermore, it is necessary to have enough hair for the test. Ideally, the hair sample should be approximately 1.5 inches long. If the hair is too short or sparse, the test may not yield accurate results. Otherwise, individuals may need to wait until their hair has grown to the appropriate length.
Hair Alcohol Test Cost: Accuracy and Reliability
When it comes to testing for alcohol consumption, there are several methods available, including breathalyser and urine testing. However, for a more accurate and reliable assessment of long-term alcohol use, many professionals and organisations consider hair alcohol testing. This is the reason why the hair alcohol test cost can be pricier than the others.
Hair alcohol tests are highly accurate and reliable because they measure the amount of alcohol people consume over an extended period. By testing a sample of hair, it is possible to detect Fatty Acid Ethyl Esters (FAEE), which are other metabolites that the body produces when it breaks alcohol down. The presence of these metabolites can help to determine how long alcohol is in the system.
Typically, collectors take the specimen from the head hair since it grows at a relatively consistent rate. However, if head hair is not available or suitable, they can use body hair samples, but this may incur an additional cost. It is advisable to check with insurance providers to determine if the testing is covered under any existing policy.
Are there Risks of False Positives?
While a hair alcohol test is generally accurate, there are a few factors that can potentially lead to false positive results. One such factor is external contamination of the hair. For example, contact with alcohol-containing hair products such as hairsprays could potentially result in a false positive.
Another factor is the potential for passive exposure to alcohol. If a person is in an environment where there is heavy alcohol use, such as a bar or concert, they can absorb the alcohol. This is possible when it spreads through the air and onto the hair of a person.
The hair alcohol test cost may vary, but it provides a highly accurate and reliable assessment of long-term alcohol use. Thus, it is a preferred method for legal, workplace, and other situations that require factual evidence of alcohol use. For individuals who are undergoing legal procedures or dealing with pre-employment requirements, the cost may be justified for the assurance it provides. However, it is important to note that there are factors that can potentially lead to false positive results.
Before scheduling hair alcohol testing, it is essential to understand the factors that influence its cost. From the type of testing to the location and additional services, each element plays a role in determining the final price. By being informed about these contributing factors, people can make informed decisions and ensure they are getting the best value for their money. All in all, hair alcohol tests are useful for many situations and help many people.