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October 26, 2015

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Infographic: a brief history of hair toxicology

Hair toxicology v8Testing for drug and alcohol abuse can be an important part of occupational health and safety. Hair toxicology is one method of screening for illicit substances that is growing in popularity.

Its increasing use can be attributed to the relative convenience of carrying out a test as well as its accuracy, particularly for detecting historical drug or alcohol use.

Human hair grows at approximately 1cm a month. If drugs or alcohol are ingested, they will travel into the bloodstream. Following this, elements of the substances will then be deposited into the hair follicles. The drugs or alcohol and their metabolites (what is left after the body has processed the chemical) are then present in hair and can be extracted.

By cutting the hair into sections, toxicologists are able to use hair toxicology testing to get a history of drug or alcohol use dating back up to at least 12 months.

But what about the history of hair toxicology itself? This infographic from ESG, provider of testing inspection and compliance services takes a brief look at how far we’ve come.

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