What is a “Dilute” Urine Sample?

What is a “dilute” urine sample? When a lab report informs you that a particular sample that you’ve submitted was “diluted,” of what relevance is this fact and what should you do about it? These questions are frequently posed to us and unfortunately, “dilution” is a gray area of inference and suspicion. Although there is not a clear-cut explanation as to how dilution occurs, the federal government has established guidelines for the determination as to what dilute is. It is incumbent upon any institution that undertakes drug testing to establish its own particular policy and procedures for dealing with samples that have been identified by the laboratory as dilute. This responsibility extends to instances where a person being tested somehow managed a substitution of his or her urine; substitution is an additional phenomenon that collectors must actively guard against.

What is a dilute urine sample? What is a substituted sample? The laboratory follows the rules set forth by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Here are the rules:

A sample is “Dilute” if it meets one of the following conditions:

1) Dilute: Creatinine is greater than or equal to 5.0mg/dL AND less than 20 mg/dL AND the Specific Gravity equals 1.002

2) Dilute: Creatinine is less than or equal to 5.0 mg/dL AND the Specific Gravity is greater than 1.0010 AND less than 1.0030.

A sample is “Substitued” if it meets one of the following conditions:

1) Substituted: Creatinine is less than 2.0 mg/dL AND the Specific Gravity is less than 1.0010

2) Substituted: Creatinine is less than 2.0 mg/dL AND Specific Gravity is greater than or equal to 1.0200.

Dilution is not the same as sample adulteration. Adulteration has occurred when foreign substances are intentionally and directly added to a urine specimen that is to be submitted for testing. There are various products available and sold over the Internet for oral consumption claiming to help “rid the body of toxins”. Although these “body cleansing” products claim efficacy in beating drug tests, they’re typically no more effective or useful than old-fashioned techniques of water or green tea system flushing.

But a dilute specimen isn’t always the result of a nefarious act on the part of the person being tested. There are medical conditions that can produce dilute urine specimens from otherwise compliant people. Dilute urine can also be caused by the direct pouring of water or some other liquid it into a urine specimen at the time of collection; over-hydration, or over consumption of liquids prior to collection, especially those that contain diuretic agents. These sorts of things may be entirely innocent, or the may be done intentionally on the part of an individual who wishes to influence the result of a drug test. Testing agencies might consider the development of a set of rules and admonitions that can be communicated to people being tested that establishes an agency’s processes for interpretation of samples that have been tampered by dilution or substitution. Consequences for such behaviors are important towards insuring that your process of drug testing is secure and reliable.

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