For decades law enforcement agencies including local police, DEA and US Customs have used what is known as "presumptive field drug-test" kits to confirm that suspected materials are illegal drugs. The tests, which use powerful acids to react with suspected substances, change color to indicate the presence or absence of drugs. However, there is now conclusive evidence the field drug tests falsely indicate the presence of drugs when used on numerous natural products such as soap, soy milk, essential oils and chocolate. Developed over 60 years ago, these tests are made by the giant homeland security company Armor Holdings, a subsidiary of BAE Systems. At a cost of less than five dollars each, the field drug tests can be found in nearly every police car, border checkpoint, jail and in most schools.
Similar false positives have resulted in arrests over other natural products. In 2007, a false-positive for the date rape drug GHB occurred when Newport Beach (CA) police tested Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap. Based on the faulty field test, well-known musician Don Bolles was jailed for three and half days over Easter weekend. After the Bronner family helped post bail and hired an attorney, the charges were dropped when more accurate crime lab tests showed there was no GHB in their soap. Further investigation by Dr. Bronner's found that any natural soap, including brands such as Tom's of Maine and Neutrogena, will falsely test-positive for GHB using the field drug test. Dr. Bronner's is also covering Mr. Obadia and Ms. Artemis's attorney costs going forward.
"We are alarmed by the growing number of people who have been taken to jail for simply possessing organic products," says Ronnie Cummins, Executive Director of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA). "This is an attack on people who have adopted an organic natural lifestyle, whether it's the food they eat, the soap they clean with or the perfumes they use. What kind of world do we live in where nursing mothers' have their babies taken from them and are subjected to coercive interrogations to generate false confessions, over healthy organic foods like raw chocolate," says Cummins, who cofounded the 800,000 supporter strong OCA. The American Civil Liberties Union's Drug Law Reform Project is also contemplating a class action challenge to the drug war testing industry.