Positive Marijuana Increase: Tests In Newborns Contain False Results

06/14/2012 07:39 PM ET

A U.S. study published in the journal Clinical Biochemistry proposes that leading baby washes are causing newborns to falsely test positive for marijuana exposure.

Researchers took on this study due to doctors at University of North Carolina (UNC) Hospitals noticing a drastic increase in false-positive results for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana that comes up during routine urine tests.

The study found that baby washes such as Aveeno Soothing Relief Creamy Wash, and Johnson and Johnson’s Head-to-Toe are the cause of the false test results.

Scientists say they don’t know what is causing the faulty conclusions; however, they did find that some of the detergents in the washes are at fault.

Correctly identifying illegal drug exposure in newborns “is critical to ensure both protection of the child and support for the family,” stated Professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill and study researcher Dr. Catherine Hammett-Stabler.

“Our findings in this study drive home the point that confirmation by more sophisticated methods such as mass spectrometry should be considered before moving ahead with interventions such as child social services or child abuse allegations, which may be false, “ said co-author Carl J. Seashore, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at UNC and director of the Newborn Nursery.

According to the studies authors, their objective was to advise laboratory technicians and health-care providers, and to inform them that positive urine screens for THC need to be established.

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