Effects of pyridinium chlorochromate adulterant (urine luck) on testing for drugs of abuse and a method for quantitative detection of chromium (VI) in urine

J Anal Toxicol. 2000 May-Jun;24(4):233-7. doi: 10.1093/jat/24.4.233.


Pyridinium chlorochromate (PCC) as an adulterant is popular for concealing drug-positive results. When 11-nor-delta9-THC-9-carboxylic acid (THC-acid) in urine was treated with 2 mmol/L of PCC (Cr6+ 104 microg/mL), 58-100% of the THC-acid was lost. The loss increased with decreasing pH and increasing reaction time (0-3 days). Free codeine and free morphine remained unaffected by PCC at pH within the physiological range of the urine (pH 5-7). At lower pH, the loss of free morphine varied from 0 to 100%. Amphetamine, methamphetamine, benzoylecgonine, and PCP remained unaffected by PCC when exposed to the oxidant for three days in urine pH of 3-7. Chromium (VI) from PCC in a urine solution was detected by a color reaction with 1,5-diphenylcarbazide (DPC). When the reagent was added to the urine, an immediate red-violet color appeared. The chromium-DPC complex showed a characteristic absorption peak at wavelength 544 nm with a shoulder at wavelength 575 nm. The ratio of absorption was used to identify the chromium compound. The concentration of chromium (VI) was determined by measuring absorption at wavelength 544 nm and was linear over 0.5-20 microg/mL. The limit of detection of the procedure was 0.37 microg/mL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Chromium / urine*
  • False Negative Reactions
  • Forensic Medicine / methods
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Narcotics / urine*
  • Pyridinium Compounds / pharmacokinetics
  • Pyridinium Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods*
  • Urinalysis


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Narcotics
  • Pyridinium Compounds
  • Chromium
  • pyridinium chlorochromate