Construction industry backing Bill to ban synthetic urine

Our largest drug-testing agency and construction industry leaders are backing a Bill that seeks to ban synthetic urine.

The agency says there's been an increase in people attempting to use the liquid to fake drug tests.

Dean Henderson's got a tough job. He's responsible for health and safety at a central Auckland site.

In the past year, hundreds of Naylor Love workers have been tested for drugs. One was found to be fake.

"We've had a urine sample on the project that's come in lower than the body temperature," Henderson says.

That means it could have been synthetic urine, which is made of uric acid and warmed up. Even though testing caught the cheat, Henderson still worries how much synthetic products are used.

"Synthetic urine sampling is potentially only going to enhance over the coming years," he says.

Our largest drug-testing agency has seen a rise in the use of synthetic urine to cheat drug tests.

"We would see instances of synthetic products being used probably one twice maybe more a week," says Rod Dale, group technical manager at The Drug Detection Agency (TDDA).

That's because synthetic urine can be imported and sold legally. Newshub bought a bottle of the fake liquid from a Wellington store for around $40 dollars - no questions asked - that's because it's completely legal.

A Member's Bill introduced by National MP Matt Doocey to ban synthetic urine aims to change that. It's up for debate in Parliament after being pulled from the ballot this week.

"Retailers are openly selling cheating a drug test and I think in some workplaces that's a matter of life or death," Doocey says.

But Doocey admits it's hard to know just how widespread the problem is.

"It's the unknown," he says.

The Drug Detection Agency says cowboy testing companies might not be picking up synthetic urine when their equipment is not sophisticated enough.

"Non-accredited organisations probably would not use the same processes," Dale says.

Labour is yet to form a position on the Bill, which will soon have its first reading.

Those in the business of keeping workers safe say lives could depend on it.