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Drug Testing News

DOT says new drug test rule will protect the innocent



WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Transportation is soliciting input from truckers and other transportation workers on a new rule the DOT says is aimed at protecting innocent participants in drug-testing programs.

The DOT says its final rule -- or IFR -- would prevent unfair accusations against individuals who naturally produce "highly dilute" urine specimens.

Issued May 28 and made effective immediately, the interim final rule -- or IFR -- widens the DOT definition of "dilute tests."

It also changes the amount of a chemical called "creatinine" that is allowed. It is sometimes found in a urine specimen that triggers a finding that the individual has refused to take a drug test.

Several medical and scientific experts now believe that some highly dilute specimens shouldn't necessarily trigger a violation.

DOT's expanded category of dilute specimens includes those containing two to 20 milligrams of creatinine per deciliter.

While HHS considers whether to change the creatinine levels for which laboratories test, the DOT is taking this interim step as an added precaution against unfair accusations.

Dilute specimens will not cause the employee to be regarded as violating the regulation. However, employees who provide dilute specimens in the two- to five-milligram-per-deciliter range are to undergo immediate retesting under direct observation as a safeguard for the integrity of the program.