According to a press release and study by University of Surrey , it may be more common then you think to find cocaine on your hands.
In a study published by Clinical Chemistry, researchers from the University tested the fingerprints of 50 drug free volunteers.
Researchers tested fingerprints from the unwashed hands of the drug-free volunteers and, despite having no history of drug use, still found traces of class A drugs. Around 13 percent of fingerprints were found to contain cocaine and one percent contained a metabolite of heroin. By setting a “cut-off” level, researchers were able to distinguish between fingerprints that had environmental contaminants from those produced after genuine drug use – even after people washed their hands.
Dr Melanie Bailey, Lecturer in Forensic Analysis at the University of Surrey, said: “Believe it or not, cocaine is a very common environmental contaminant – it is well known that it is present on many bank notes. Even so, we were surprised that it was detected in so many of our fingerprint samples. By establishing a threshold for significance on a fingerprint test, we can give those tested the peace-of-mind of knowing that whatever the result of the test may be, it was not affected by their everyday activities or shaking hands with someone that had taken drugs.”
Mahado Ismail, lead-author of the paper from the University of Surrey, said: “It’s clear that fingerprint testing is the future of drug-testing. There are many factors that set fingerprint testing apart – it’s non-invasive, easy to collect and you have the ability to identify the donor by using the sample. Our study will help to add another robust layer to fingerprint drug testing.”