Babies testing positive for pot — it’s in the shampoo man!

A new study has found that common baby soaps and shampoos are triggering positive results for pot tests conducted on babies.

According to Time via Yahoo News:

“Commonly used baby soaps and shampoos, including products from Johnson & Johnson, Aveeno and CVS, can trigger a positive result on newborns’ marijuana screening tests, according to a recent study. A minute amount of the cleansing products in a urine sample — just 0.1 milliliters or less — was found to cause a positive result.”

“Researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, began studying the issue after an unusually high number of newborns in their nursery began testing positive for marijuana exposure. Newborn screening for marijuana at hospitals, particularly among babies of women who are considered at high risk of drug use, is not uncommon: at U.N.C. Chapel Hill, 10% to 40% of newborns are tested…”

“Soaps that were specifically associated with false-positive marijuana test results include Johnson & Johnson’s Bedtime Bath, CVS Night-Time Baby Bath, Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Creamy Wash and Aveeno Baby Wash & Shampoo.”

“The problem is almost certainly not limited to these products, however. Researchers also tested ingredients used widely in soaps and shampoos, including polyquaternium-11 and cocamidopropyl betaine, which both elicited positive marijuana test results. So far, there is no explanation as to why the chemicals interfere with the test’s function, but importantly, they aren’t intoxicating; they don’t cause symptoms of marijuana exposure in children. The researchers think minute amounts of the substances were simply washing off the babies’ skin into their urine samples and confounding the screens.

(Teenagers will have a new excuse for positive drug tests: “I’ve been using baby shampoo, man!”)

I am joking about the teenagers but the problem is babies could in theory be removed from their mother’s care because of these false positive tests. So the doctors either need to take the screenings further or the women need to know this can happen to defend themselves.

So what do you make of these products causing false positives? Would this worry you? Would you stop using them?

22 comments Add your comment

Florence

June 20th, 2012
1:12 am

If they suspect the mother of drug use they should test her and that would avoid the problem all together. If they don’t have enough evidence to test the mother, testing the baby should be illegal as well.

homeschooler

June 20th, 2012
6:47 am

This is very interesting. @ Florence, in my experience the mother’s are usually tested along with the baby or the baby is tested after the mother tests positive. It is very unusual to have a baby test positive for marijuana and the mother negative. When this happens we usually suspect that the mother very infrequently used.
It’s not like DFCS gets all bent out of shape about marijuana. Kids are rarely (if ever) removed for marijuana use alone. Still, how upsetting would it be if you were investigated, had to go for a drug/alcohol assessment etc.. when you had never used marijuana.
I’m going to turn this article over to my drug expert. (a drug screener who happens to be closely related to me. ;-) ) I’ll get her opinion on this and comment later.

shaggy

June 20th, 2012
6:53 am

“Doooon’t…Booogart that “baby shampoo” my friend. Pass it oooover to meeeeee…You’ve been hangin on to it, and I suuuuuure would like a hit.!”

Voice of Reason

June 20th, 2012
8:08 am

This doesn’t surprise me.

Eating hamburger, hot dog buns, bagels, and muffins that contain poppy seeds will also cause false positives for Heroin.

Opiates (morphine and codeine) can be detected in urine for at least 48 hours after one eats food containing poppy seeds.

Once Again

June 20th, 2012
8:32 am

Given the unbelievable stupidity of government and its chronic desire to take away rights and freedoms, everyone should be deeply concerned. Children will be taken, lives will be destroyed, all over spurious test results AND THE GOVERNMENT WILL NOT CARE ONE BIT.

It is far past time to end the failed war on drugs. Millions in this country now sit in prisons for no other reason than non-violent drug offenses. Meanwhile, our president openly admits to and plenty of others have written about his serious marijuana use and the use of other drugs, yet he suffers not one bit and continues to oversee and administration that locks of tens of thousands each year for HIS same crimes.

Prohibition of anything only makes the problems worse. End the war on drugs and restore sanity to this nation.

Aquagirl

June 20th, 2012
8:50 am

It’s not like DFCS gets all bent out of shape about marijuana.

Then why are they testing at all? And it’s creepy how they’re testing babies of “women at high risk of drug abuse.” I’m sure they use a rigorous science based assessment on just who is at high risk, including excess melanin detectors.

Becky

June 20th, 2012
8:59 am

@Florence..It says in the article that they test if the mother is considered at high risk for drug use..So not sure what you mean by your comment..Do you think that every woman that has a baby should be tested?

@Voice..I read an article not long ago (can’t remember when or where) but a mother had her newborn taken away from here, because she tested positive for drugs..They later found out that she had eaten a bagel with poppy seeds on it..

Certain breath mints can also make you test positive for alcohol..I know this for a fact..If a person gets hurt at my company and has to go to the emergency room, they will do a drug test on you.. I fell off of a ladder (many years ago)..While I was being treated, the Dr, ask if I had been drinking and I said no, why? I showed him the breath mints that I had and he said they will make your reading show positive..

Once Again

June 20th, 2012
9:38 am

Zero Tolerance = Zero Intelligence.

homeschooler

June 20th, 2012
10:10 am

@ Aquagirl.. they test because of concerns of use of hard drugs or unprescribed medications (oxycontin, xanax etc..) Some of the factors that warrant a test are; no pre-natal care, admitted or known past drug use. A marijuana positive will often result in a DFCS referral but the referral is just one step in a long process before kids are taken away. A referral on a marijuana positive might be screened out and never investigated. It might justify a visit by a caseworker to make sure there are no other concerns. It might (but not often) require that another family member supervise contact between parent and child until a drug/alcohol assessment is conducted. The only times I have ever seen kids taken away for marijuana use is when a judge has continually told a parent to stop using and they don’t. Even then it is the judge removing the child, not DFCS.

My drug screener contact brought up a good point. Presumptive positives on instant tests are typically confirmed at a lab. A lab should be able to detect the false positives. I can’t remember how the hospital labs work but I suspect this is really not going to be a big problem. We should worry more about the babies that are going home to meth, heroin and cocaine users.

My strong “don’t mess with my freedom” side believes that the hospital should not be able to screen anybody without permission but my DFCS “I’ve seen too many drug abusing parents” side is all for it. WIthout the drug screens at birth many children would go home to unsafe situations.

FCM

June 20th, 2012
10:56 am

@homeschooler…what about the cost on the hospital to run those tests? My thinking is that someone who does not get prenatal care etc probably does not insurance or their own funds paying the bill.

So now taxes (ie us working slobs) are paying for the tests. That is a HUGE expense.

YellsBells&Smells

June 20th, 2012
11:00 am

Teresa…..I hate to sound like one of “those people”, but you mention in your blog that a positive marijuana test could result in the baby being “removed from their mother’s care”. In many cases, the father would suffer that loss as well. Please keep in mind that there are a lot of very involved fathers out there who contribute to their children’s care as much as (and in a few cases more) than the mom.

YellsBells&Smells

June 20th, 2012
11:02 am

I know this is “Momania” but a fair number of Dads read this and contribute. Sometimes I feel that fathers only get recognized as a paycheck and occasional playmate for the kids and that is wrong.

mystery poster

June 20th, 2012
11:06 am

They make a lot of assumptions.
The reason that they put silver nitrate in all newborns’ eyes is because they assume every woman delivering has gonorrhea.

mystery poster

June 20th, 2012
11:08 am

Maybe I spoke too soon. Do they do the silver nitrate in GA? My hospital birth was in a different state that mandated silver nitrate. One more reason I had my second at home.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

June 20th, 2012
11:58 am

Enter your comments here

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

June 20th, 2012
12:00 pm

Yells — I completely agree with you that it would be horrible for the dad if the baby was taken — the story only talks about the mom — I don’t know if they’re suggesting the the pot would come through breast milk (where that would be only a mother thing) or just inhaled by whoever is doing it in the house — at any rate the Time story focused on moms with possible drug issues.

Nurse

June 20th, 2012
3:25 pm

If the mother is suspected of drug abuse, a meconium drug screen is the most reliable screen for an infant.

FCM

June 20th, 2012
4:39 pm

@ Nurse….in pre natal care the nurses seemed to think I was a pincushion with all the blood they drew….Am I wrong in thinking at least one of those samples was tested for drugs….I would not have been “suspected” as I am not a drug user, I just always assumed it was just done with any other blood screening done in prenatal care.

FCM

June 20th, 2012
4:39 pm

some of the blood was drawn to test due to high blood pressure, I know that.

homeschooler

June 20th, 2012
8:02 pm

@FCM…I would say that medicaid (and..that would be us) is paying for the majority of these tests. Although, I don’t think in the scheme of things a tox screen costs all that much. Again, a lot of babies are saved from going home with hard drug users because of these tests. btw..medicaid also pays for pre-natal care. Those who don’t get pre-natal care usually choose not to for reasons that have nothing to do with money.

@ Theresa.. I think the only drug screens this article is referring to are those done just after the birth of the child. The children are exposed while in the mother’s womb from things the mother, herself has done. There is no way a mother or child who is around secondary smoke can test positive on a drug screen. People would like to have you believe this, but it is not true.

In my experience, if mom and dad are together and one is using, they are both using (most of the time). DFCS will often allow a father who is not using to take the baby home but in many of these cases, the father is not even in the picture.

@ FCM.. I doubt you were tested for drugs. Most people are not.

Mark Matthews

June 22nd, 2012
7:11 am

Whether these common substances may be passed from mother to baby, and whether these substances may be absorbed through the skin has yet to be studied. Until we know the answers to these questions, companies and governmental agencies, especially law enforcement agencies, will continue to needlessly put innocent citizens’ well-being at risk, and continue to needlessly waste resources. Also, teens will certainly be justified in giving the excuse that, “it’s because of the shampoo,” because these substances are found in a wide range of adult products as well.

djm_NC

June 23rd, 2012
12:27 pm

there are hospitals in nc and ga that test the mothers routinely for drugs in the blood. doesnt matter whether you have admitted drug use or not it is the ‘rule’.