tests for adulterants

tests for adulterants

Adulterant-6_color-chartAdulterant tests help determine whether a donor has attempted to alter a urine specimen. DrugCheck® dip and cup tests are available with adulterant tests to screen for:

  • Creatinine
  • Glutaraldehyde
  • Nitrite
  • Oxidants / bleach
  • pH
  • Specific gravity

Compare colored pads on reacted strips to color blocks on the color chart provided. Adulterated urine will show results similar to those in the “Abnormal” columns of the color chart; unadulterated samples similar to those in the “Normal” column.

Creatinine: Daily creatinine excretion, related to muscle mass of the human body, is usually constant. A urine specimen with creatinine levels of less than 5 mg/dL is an indication of substitution. Although these ranges are affected by age, sex, diet, muscle mass and local population distribution, samples with creatinine level of lower than 20mg/dL should be considered diluted.


Glutaraldehyde is not a normal component of human urine and it should not be present in normal urine.  The presence of glutaraldehyde in the urine sample indicates the possibility of adulteration.  However, false positives may result when ketone bodies are present in the urine. Ketone bodies may appear in urine when a person is in ketoacidosis due to starvation or other metabolic abnormalities.


Nitrite: Although nitrite is not a normal component of urine, nitrite levels of up to 3.6 mg/dL may be found in some urine specimens due to urinary tract infections, bacterial contamination or improper storage. Adulteration nitrite levels above 15 mg/dL are considered abnormal.

Oxidants: The presence of oxidizing reagents in the urine is indicative of adulteration since oxidizing reagents are not normal constituents of urine. Oxidizing reagents include hydrogen peroxide, ferricyanide, persulfate, and pyridinium chlorochromate.


pH: Normal pH ranges from 4.5 to 8.0. Values below pH 4.0 or above pH 9.0 are indicative of adulteration.


Specific gravity: Random urine may vary in specific gravity from 1.003 – 1.030.  Normal adults with normal diets and normal fluid intake will have an average urine specific gravity of 1.016 – 1.022. Elevated urine specific gravity values may be obtained in the presence of moderate quantities of protein. A urine specimen with a specific gravity level of less that 1.003 can be an indication of substitution. Specific gravity and creatinine values should be considered together to provide a better picture of whether the sample is substituted.


Note: Glutaraldehyde is available for forensic use or export only.