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Volume 87 Issue 48 | p. 3 | Letters
Issue Date: November 30, 2009

Positively False

Department: Letters

Stanley J. Broskey's letter points out that improper disposal of prescription and street drugs could lead to their low levels in our water supply (C&EN, Aug. 17, page 5). He states, "Getting a positive drug test can easily get you terminated, or mustered out of a Department of Transportation, law enforcement, or chemical job in this trace-of-trace chemical detection world we now live in."

The picture may be even worse. What about the air we breathe? Following a losing singles match in the third round of the 2008 Wimbledon, a urine sample provided by Martina Hingis tested positive for a metabolite of cocaine. The level was well below what would be considered positive by urine testing labs that examine urine samples from members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Hingis said she was "100% innocent." She immediately volunteered a sample of her hair for testing. This test even had the potential of showing the approximate date when she was exposed to cocaine, but it came back negative. However, analysis of her B urine sample again was positive for cocaine.

Hingis' attorney pointed out that fighting these charges might take several years and cost millions. Already at the end of her competitive tennis career, Hingis elected to retire. Considering the lifestyles of world-class tennis players and the many parties they attend (often at the behest of their sponsors as well as tournament organizers and patrons) and the behavior of the "beautiful people" celebrity types also in attendance, accidental inhalation of trace levels of cocaine dust in a room's air is hardly surprising.

Bob Blackledge
El Cajon, Calif.

 
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