Hair Testing

Noble Diagnostics’ testing process is extremely accurate and uses industry-leading processes, as well as state-of-the-art equipment. Noble Diagnostics holds all major industry-recognized certifications and accreditations for hair drug testing laboratories.


The laboratory receives the samples from a contracted courier (Fed-Ex, UPS, etc.). The samples are kept in a secure area accessible only by authorized laboratory personnel until the accessioning process begins. The accessioner opens each sample individually. The accessioner checks the samples to ensure the seal is intact along with proper chain of custody. A unique identifier called the Laboratory Accessioning number (LAN) is then placed on each sample and that sample’s chain of custody. This is the tracking number that identifies the sample throughout the testing procedures at the laboratory. The hair is then weighed out and prepared for the initial testing analysis. After properly documenting the chain of custody, the sample is then transferred within the laboratory and the testing is completed.


The initial screen is performed on the samples using Enzyme Immunoassay (EIA) techniques. All QA/QC criteria are checked by the initial testing personnel and a negative certifying scientist. “Negative” results are then reported to the client.

Extractions and GC/MS Confirmation

“Presumptive positive” results are then sent to GC/MS (Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry) for confirmation of the initial test. Noble Diagnostics uses the latest in Agilent and Varian Gas Chromatography systems for confirmation testing. All samples are processed with negative and positive controls.

When preforming GC/MS confirmations, a second aliquot of hair is removed from the original hair samples and weighed out. After applying various wash procedures, the samples are prepared and extracted using Solid Phase Extraction techniques and then analyzed by GC/MS. All QA/QC criteria are checked by the GC/MS chemist and positive certifying scientist. All results are then reported to the client.

How a Sample Moves Through the Laboratory

  1. The accessioner opens each sample received on a one for one basis. The accessioner checks the sample to ensure that seal is intact along with proper Chain of Custody. A unique identifier called the Laboratory Accessioning Number (LAN) is then placed on the sample and the Chain of Custody.
  2. Hair samples are then weighted and transferred to a tube identified by the LAN # on a one for one basis.
  3. After this, the specimens are transferred )with a signed Chain of Custody document) to a screening chemist who performs the screening test batches each with a set of calibrators, negatives and controls for each drug assayed. Each of these controls must be acceptable before the negatives are sent for final evaluation and release; the batches are then verified (again with a signed Chain of Custody document) and removed from the instruments by a second screening chemist.
  4. Any presumptive positive specimen is then placed on a computer list for the accessioning department to go back and remove another completely new portion of the sample from the specimen.
  5. After this, the specimens are transferred (with a signed Chain of Custody document) to a GC/MS chemist.
  6. After extraction, these samples along with calibrators, negatives and controls are then places on the instrument by the GC/MS chemist for analysis (again with a signed Chain of Custody document). After analysis, the samples are again verified (again with a signed Chain of Custody document) when they are removed from the instrument by a second GC/MS chemists.
  7. Each analysis run is extensively critiqued, negatives must be negatives, positives must be positives, the correct ions must be present in the correct ratios and control results must be within ± 20% of the correct (pre-determined) value. These items among a host of others are what must be correct before a specimen can be considered positive. Any deviation from these “rules” will result in a report being considered negative.
Noble Diagnostics Inc., is accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP), certified by CLIA, and fully licensed by the State of Ohio and New York State to perform forensic drug testing. Noble Diagnostics’ Hair Chain of Custody protocols exactly follows (as appropriate) those mandated by the Federal Government. From the time of collection, through each step of the analytical process (opening accessioning, screening reliquoting, GC/MS confirmation, and final results interpretation),a complete paper trail is maintains such that each individual coming in contact with the sample must sign the ICOC documents as well as each chemist must initial his/her portion of the work preformed.

The Noble Diagnostics
Five-Panel Hair Test Includes:

Collection kits
Chain of Custody forms
GC/MS confirmation
Customer Support
Noble Diagnostics toll-free number
Reports via secure FAX, Web, or Data transfer
The fasted turnaround time in the industry (94% + of results are reported day of receipt)
CD ROM or online training and certification of collectors
Local collections available in your area for an additional charge

Noble Diagnostics usually requires an undetectable lock of hair preferably snipped from the back of the head, just below the crown. The amount needed is approximately one (1) centimeter wide.
Cocaine, marijuana, opiates (including heroin, codeine, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone and hydromorphone), methamphetamine, Ecstasy (MDMA), Eve (MDEA) and phencyclidine (PCP).

It takes approximately 5-7 days from the time of drug use for the portion of the hair containing that drug to grow above the scalp.

Yes. Hair can be collected from several locations on the head and combined to obtain the required amount of hair. If head hair is not available, certain body hair can be used as an alternative.
After you ingest a drug, the substance itself or metabolites that are produced as the drug is processed by your body are deposited from your bloodstream into the hair shaft via the hair follicle.

Yes: if, for any reason, a person’s head hair can’t be tested, the second option is body hair from the underarm, chest or back.

The laboratory receives the samples via overnight courier. Preparation of the sample for testing is performed the day the samples arrive and the initial test is completed overnight. Negative screening results are typically reported within 24 hours of specimen receipt. Positive results are confirmed, reviewed, and typically reported within 48-72 hours of receipt.
Yes, Ecstasy is reported under the “Amphetamines” group.
Yes. Upon request, a customer’s testing panel may also include confirmatory testing for semisynthetic opiates (hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone).
The results stay in our system for a minimum of 5 years.

Compliance Questions?