Whether you’re hoping to land a temporary job for the holiday season or seeking a full-tilt career change encompassing high-security urine test protocols, the odds are good that you’re going to be asked to provide a urine specimen during the pre-hiring phase.
In today’s competitive market where top talent is seemingly hard to come by, a growing number of companies are including urine testing as part of their screening regimen – and, of course, immediately dismissing those who exhibit positive results.
But what about testing positive when you haven’t used any drugs? Don’t laugh it off – it actually happens more often than you think.
There are a plethora of everyday foods and harmless items that contain substances that are misconstrued as illegal formulas; indeed, if you’ve ever had a “false-positive” reading on a pre employment Urine test, you know how frustrating it can be. Instinctively, you put your defenses up because you know the test is wrong…but how do you prove it?
This is why it’s so important to realize that some elements can cause false-positives so that you can avoid the items that contain them – until you at least land the job you’ve been dreaming of.
Don’t get caught up in this stressful “soap opera.” Life is crazy enough without defending yourself to some HR rep who automatically believes you’re an addict.
What common substances can cause false-positives on laboratory urine screenings? You might be shocked to learn majority of this is in your house.
1. Hemp Seeds
Do you enjoy hemp seed oil, hemp seeds or hemp seed milk? Every one of these – especially if you consume them regularly – will result in a positive reading for THC. Though hemp seeds are legal, urine specimen testing cannot discern the difference between marijuana users and hemp seed eaters, due to the fact that there are microscopic traces of THC in hemp seeds.
Also worth noting is that THC is stored in body fat, meaning you will test positive for as long as 30 days after you stop eating it. Try almond milk and almonds until you actually land the job.
2. Cold Remedies & Antibiotics
Nearly all over-the-counter flu and cold remedies work by narrowing the blood vessels in the nasal passages, helping to relieve congestion, but the ingredient in these medications that makes this happen (pseudoephedrine) is a synthetic amphetamine, which can be used (in massive quantities) to make meth.
Taking cold medication can cause you to test positive for amphetamines; even a review presented at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting found that over-the-counter cold medications can yield a false-positive on drug tests.
If you’re dealing with an infection or other problems, the medicine you’re taking to deal with it could ruin your clean screening. What is this? Not only can cold medicine and pain-relievers screw you over, but also antibiotics? Is nothing safe?
I’m sorry to say that some antibiotics can also cause you to test positive for opiates. Some of these medicines are called “cross-reactive substances” because, to the test, they appear similar to illegal drugs.
If you’re on antibiotics, let your boss know in case it messes up the test.
Ever had a urinary tract infection? You’re probably familiar with this product, which provides immediate relief. Azo strips the urinary tract, which is ideal for removing the bacteria causing the infection, but many people use it to try and fool a drug test.
Azo tends to turn the urine bright red or uber-yellow, which is usually a red flag to test administrators who will instinctively kick out your results, believing you have something to hide.ù
Perhaps one of the most common offenders with regard to failed drug tests, Sudafed is often mistaken during drug testing for numerous hardcore drugs.
Why? Because, like most cold remedies, the medication’s main ingredient is pseudoephedrine, which is a type of synthetic amphetamine (as we covered above); avoid Sudafed for at least 48 hours before a drug test, and if you take the medication for allergies, feel free to sneeze away during your urine test.
5. Tonic Water
Now, at this point, you may be asking “Are you kidding?” But bear with us for a moment, because there are a number of reasons peple fail urine tests: The truth is, tonic water – also known as quinine water – was originally envisioned as a means of delivering quinine from South America.
Drinking tonic water can lead to a false-positive for opiates and, according to a study published in the Addictive Behaviors journal, drinking even a few gin and tonics the night before can be enough to cause you to fail a Urine test the next day.
6. Vitamin B Supplements
This may be another “Whoa – what!?!?” moment, but remember what we just said about a number of reasons peple fail urine tests. Indeed, many natural herbs that contain vitamin B2 or vitamin B complex supplements can lead to a false-positive because most commercial B2 supplements – also known as riboflavin – are synthetic.
These are made from the fermentation of a particular plant, or they can be the products of hemp seed oil; as you probably already figured out, this will yield a false-positive for marijuana.
This everyday over-the-counter pain killer is a popular go-to choice when it comes to relieving headaches and the like, but you should try Tylenol or old fashioned aspirin if you plan on taking a drug test within 48 hours.
This is because, like just about everything else we’ve been outlining here, Ibuprofen can cause you to test positive for barbiturates, marijuana or benzodiazepines.
8. Poppy Seeds
Who doesn’t like a poppy seed bagel? Wait just a minute, though – if you plan to take a drug test in the near future, you should skip those delicious favorites until your first day on the job (and then maybe still reconsider the bagel thing if you’re watching your carb intake, but that’s a subject for another time).
Why do we say that? Because poppy seeds contain tiny traces of opiates, such as the kind found in opium and codeine, so after eating something containing poppy seeds you can test positive for these drugs for as long as 48 hours.
9. Granola Bars
Some snack bars, breakfast bars and granola bars contain – yep, you guessed it – hemp seeds. This seems to be especially prevalent in granola bars that contain smoky flavors, honey mustard, Thai sweet chili, roasted jalapeno or honey-smoked flavors, but hemp seeds can actually be found in anything.
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