A colleague recently took a urine drug test for a new position they accepted. Once they (colleague) concluded the test, they used a paper towel (i would imagine a run of the mill, unstyled white paper towel as you would commonly see in offices and such) as a "sanitary buffer" and accidentally tightened the lid with a corner of the towel inside the specimen container.

If the towel touched the sample, would it produce an "adulterated" exception to the test result?

Thanks in advance!


A bit of paper towel won't have any effect on a urine sample.

People try a great many things to adulterate urine specimens: dilution, adding bleach, taking diuretics, adding lye, you name it, it's probably been tried.

If your friend had no illicit drug use before the drug test, there will not be a false positive result (paper doesn't contain drugs.)

False positives are a valid concern, therefore there is much attention paid to such results. Further tests are usually done on positive urine samples to insure that they're true positives, such as gas chromatography, etc.

It's false negatives that recreational drug users are interested in producing. And the guidelines in place for that are pretty uniform: the urine must be within normal ranges for temperature, pH, specific gravity, etc.

Urine Drug Screening: Practical Guide for Clinicians

  • 1
    Thanks for the info - they really want this job! I was ribbing them for being so clumsy and it made them very paranoid and worried, cue my guilt and this question, ha! Nov 13 '15 at 0:05
  • Haha. Glad to help. It's usually the other way around that people are worried about! ;) Nov 13 '15 at 1:47

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