How Labs Detect Synthetic Urine?
Things You Should Know

A professional writing on a paper while holding a synthetic urine sample

The lab drug test is a quick and easy way for employers to screen employees and applicants.

The test detects specific drugs in the urine of people who have been recently using them.

If you are looking to pass your drug screening, you might be wondering how labs detect synthetic urine or fake pee – well we will get into that in this blog post!

What Is Synthetic Urine and How Does It Work?
A hand with gloves holding a urine sample

Synthetic urine (or fake pee) is a fake urine substitute for those who are trying to pass their drug test.

So if you’re trying to cheat drug tests, then you’re most likely using it.

It is designed to be as close in composition and coloration to actual human pee, providing the most realistic results possible.

Synthetic urine can be used by individuals who are drug tested often, such as people in the military or those taking part in a court-ordered screening.

Recent data shows that the use of synthetic urine has increased dramatically in recent years.

Fake pee is usually smuggled into the lab using an inserted prosthetic penis, but it can also be hidden in a container or wiped on the skin.

History of Synthetic Urine

In the early 1970s, there was a great amount of social stigma surrounding drug usage. Policymakers took measures to discourage drug use by creating harsh penalties for possession and distribution.

People worried about being punished were hesitant to share their drugs with friends and family when they needed help getting sober or quitting an addiction; as a result, fatal overdoses became a common occurrence.

To help address the problem, researchers created synthetic urine to serve as a substitution for real pee in drug testing program and provide clean samples of uric acid that people could use to fool labs into thinking they had not used drugs.

In 1973, this new technology was unveiled at an American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting and immediately sparked a new era in drug testing.

What’s Synthetic Urine Made of?
A urine sample without a lid

It’s comprised of uric acid, urea, creatinine (a substance created when your body breaks down creatine), nitrates (a substance created when your body breaks down proteins), and other organic compounds like bilirubin.

While these chemicals are found in different proportions than what’s found in person’s urine, the proportions are close enough to fool a lab.

Related Article: Which Synthetic Urine Have Uric Acid?

What’s the Difference Between Synthetic Urine and Normal Human Urine?

Synthetic urine contains chemicals. It’s often chock full of urea, creatinine and uric acid in order to mimic the different levels found naturally in person’s pee.

These chemicals can be detected by labs’ drug testing for these substances.

Human urine is made up mostly of water that has been filtered through the kidneys, which can dilute synthetic urine.

Difference Between Synthetic Urine and Animal Urine

Animal urine will not have the same chemicals as synthetic urine, but it could still be detected by labs since they are looking for different compounds.

Lab technicians can tell the difference between synthetic urine and animal urine by looking at the final reaction of a chemical test.

How Can Labs Detect It via Drug Tests
A reddish urine sample being held by a scientist

Synthetic urine is undetectable by most lab tests because when you properly mix it with other substances used to conduct drug screens, like alcohol and acetone, the liquid becomes indistinguishable from real pee.

However, labs have been able to find ways of detecting synthetic urine with their own chemical tests.

One method involves a type of immunoglobin called PGMYF, which is present in person’s pee and activates the test kit.

Another asks laboratory technicians to observe the crystallization patterns that occur when they freeze fake urine samples, looking for ones that form small clumps rather than shards or long lines.

Urinalysis machines that rely on chemical sensors to identify substances are also able to detect fake urine.

If a laboratory identifies a deviation from the more common pH levels, it’s likely that it will test for certain substances.

Labs can also use infrared technology to spot and identify chemicals in the urine or even check for particles of clay used to hold fake urine together.

They can also make use of the “refractometer” which recognizes common substances like glucose, alcohol and ketones.

In some cases, labs will utilize gas chromatography or other advanced equipment to test for specific chemicals in fake pee.

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How Do Labs Detect a Tampered Drug Test

Labs employ various methods to detect tampering in drug tests, including specimen validity testing (SVT) and quantitative drug tests. SVT checks for abnormalities in the urine sample, such as dilution or substitution, which may indicate tampering.

Quantitative drug tests analyze the concentration of drugs or their metabolites in the urine to determine if they are within the expected ranges. These measures help labs identify potential tampering attempts and ensure the accuracy and integrity of urine drug testing, particularly in workplace drug testing scenarios.

Who Uses Fake Urine and for What Reasons?

While not a common practice, more and more people are turning to synthetic urine as they’re looking to get away with drug testing or other legal procedures.

There’s a lot of different situations that might lead someone to purchase some commercially available fake urine:

  • A parent with a child in the military, and wants them able to serve their country without risking discharge due to drug use or legal complications during service.
  • Someone who has a drug test coming up and can’t risk using their own urine.
  • A person with an active bladder or other health condition that prevents them from urinating on demand.
  • Someone who is trying to get pregnant but has a history of miscarriage or other issue that might prevent them from passing drug tests.

Most of these reasons for buying commercial fake urine are understandable, but there’s also the fact that it’s just not considered appropriate to use.

Tips on Using Synthetic Pee Effectively in a Drug Test
A urine sample being observed

For the subverting drug tests purposes, a common mistake people make is they don’t test the temperature of their synthetic urine – it needs to be the right temperature and pH level.

The temperature should be between 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit when you use synthetic pee in a lab drug test, while the pH levels need to mimic real human urine’s range of around six to eight on the scale.

You can keep your urine at the right temperature by using a heating pad or iced pack.

You can also simply let it warm up in front of you, but this may take some time and might not work if you have to pee quickly for someone else’s drug test.

Common Mistakes People Make When Using Fake Urine

Most common mistakes involve getting caught with fake urine in your system while on probation.

The most common mistakes people make when using synthetic urine are:

  • Pouring the material into a container and forgetting to shake it up first
  • Putting your head down while waiting for the urine sample to be tested
  • “Topping off” samples with water or another liquid that is not urine (ex: mouthwash)

Can Labs Detect Synthetic Urine?

Synthetic urines are becoming increasingly popular among those who want to pass a drug test.

The labs have been able to discover these types of urine, so if you’re considering using synthetic urine for your next drug tests, make sure that it is made from water and salt only (i.e., without any other ingredients).

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