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is tb test harmful?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Is the TB test harmful?  Does it inject something harmful into your body, like vaccines do?


My son may be attending a private college which requires this.  If it is harmful, what should I do about his not getting it?  We live in CA.



post #2 of 11

I don't like the ingredients but it's not terrible. But it hurts a lot. You can opt for the Quantiferon Gold blood test instead. Taking blood hurts 534329% less than the darn TB skin test. They poke you 4 times and move the needle in between skin layers which is really painful. I have had it done twice (in Europe and US) and it hurt equally bad, so it wasn't technique.

post #3 of 11

Yes depending on the brand used.  it has phenol in it.

  • Phenol, which is carbolic acid. Carbolic acid is a corrosive poisonous crystalline acidic compound C6H5OH present in coal tar and is composed of a substance that is toxic and poisonous to the body.


Other brands have Tween 80, also known as polysorbate 80, which according to a study can cause anaphylactic reactions, difficulties breathing, and hives


I do not want that injected into me or my children. I would opt for the blood test as well - not only because of the ingredients but because the skin test has a high rate of false positives. 


You could get an exemption as per the California Health and safety Code 121475 section C and 121505 governing TB testing allows for exemptions based on personal beliefs. 






121475.  In enacting this chapter, it is the intent of the
Legislature to provide:
   (c) Exemptions from tuberculosis tests because of personal

HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE SECTION 121505. The certificate shall not be required for a person who is subject to an order made pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 121485, if the parent, guardian, or other adult who has assumed responsibility for his or her care and custody in case of a minor, or the person seeking admission, if an emancipated minor, provides to the governing authority an affidavit stating that the examination required to obtain the certificate is contrary to his or her beliefs. If at any time there should be probable cause to believe that the person is afflicted with active tuberculosis, he or she may be excluded from the school or other institution listed in Section 121485 until the governing board is satisfied that he or she is not so afflicted


They have to accept the exemption  - if they tell you they don't they are lying or don't know themselves. Print out the code and show them. Or get the blood test if they give you a hard time and you don't feel like fighting about it. 

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thank you both for this information.  It's what I needed to know.  I think I'll have him get the blood test, that way there won't be a hassle to deal with at the school.  This is important for me to know.  Thanks so much!

post #5 of 11

That is good to know. I haven't had it come up in years so I didn't know there was another option. The last time I had the test I was 16 and remember looking at the nurse like she was crazy and shouting, "Oh my GOD! What IS that????!!!" after she poked me with the needle.

post #6 of 11

I had the blood test during my pregnancy. This is because the skin test  was positive (In a prior pregnancy), and i was sure it was a false positive. I was right. Also, it hurts!!


I asked my doctor (That was before i had my homebirth midwife) for the blood test, and they denied it existed (weird right?) I said, i would pay out of pocket for it, and still they insisted on the skin test. Im not sure if this was incompetence, or dishonesty, but either is not fine by me.


Fortunately, i later changed to a homebirth midwife who filled out the necessary paperwork, i got the blood test-negative. and painless)

post #7 of 11

The last time my DW was asked to take a TB Skin Test (TST), we opted instead for the Quantiferon test that is offered locally by Quest Diagnostics (No, I don't work for them or hold any stocks or other financial interests).  We had to specifically ask for it as the doctor ordered the typical TST.  The good thing is that our doctor had heard of the test and told us that in her other practice, that was what they did exclusively. 

Our insurance covered it and like a previous poster said, it hurt less and we don't have to worry about getting something injected into us; it's just a simple blood test.

For me and my wife, there is the additional benefit that it does not falsely indicate positive for TB for someone who has had BCG vaccine (I got it in Finland and she got it in Chile).  In the past, when my TST came up positive, I always had to get a chest X-ray to show my lungs were clear.

I've been telling EVERYONE about this test and am surprised that so few people, even in the medical field, know about its existence and much less its benefits.

post #8 of 11
I was 13 when I was tested. I don't recall it being too painful, but now that I know what's in it ... I feel rather like a lab rat! I don't know why, but my entire class was tested. I don't recall if it was the whole school.

Edited to add the missing word "feel".
Edited by pek64 - 2/13/13 at 6:49pm
post #9 of 11
I had the bcg at birth. For most people after 20 years you no longer get a positive tb skin test. But a friend had one done in NY as au pair, it was positive due to the vaccine, she had clear xrays but authorities insisted on hardcore antibiotics or back hone. She rather went back to Europe. Just saying some doctors don't realize the bcg causes false positives, hence the blood test is superior in all ways.
post #10 of 11
Originally Posted by eminurse View Post

And that means also if they want to do any sort of class in high school where they go to a hospital. There will be no religious or philosophical exemptions.

I am in Canada.  Both my teens have visited hospitals in the last year as field trips.  No immunisation required.  

post #11 of 11

The skin prick gives false positives. It  is a waste of time, and it also hurts.  Geez.  

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