Pilot 3: Larry’s Lawn Chair Balloon, Poppy Seed Drug Test, Goldfinger

Air Date: March 7, 2003

Covering your body in gold paint can kill you by skin asphyxiation like in the James Bond movie Goldfinger.


Jamie was covered in gold paint from head to toe and lasted over an hour without reporting any major ill effects, besides a slight (and temporary) flu-like feeling, as he described it. The myth stated that the actress portraying the gold plated woman in Goldfinger, Shirley Eaton, died as well. Ms. Eaton did survive the filming of Goldfinger and went on to appear in many more feature films and a segment for the show in which she confirmed she was still alive.

Could Larry Walters have flown a lawn chair by means of weather balloons, and descend safely by means of an airgun?


Adam Savage went up in the MythBuster’s rig, which was a lawn chair with 16 plastic weather balloons attached, and went up to the maximum height that could be obtained with the safety ropes attached, 75 feet (22.5 m). He safely descended by shooting out some of the balloons. The actual event behind the myth was verified by documents provided by the FAA.

Eating poppy seed bagels or poppy seed cake can cause one to test positive for heroin and/or opium on a drug test.


Heroin is a semi-synthetic opoid made from Morphine. If a test is sensitive enough it can generate a false positive simply by detecting the poppy seeds. Lawsuits have actually been filed and settled due to this phenomenon.


  1. 42Adult says:

    Any case law that you can show online?

    “Eating poppy seed bagels or poppy seed cake can cause one to test positive for heroin and/or opium on a drug test.


    Heroin is a semi-synthetic opoid made from Morphine. If a test is sensitive enough it can generate a false positive simply by detecting the poppy seeds. Lawsuits have actually been filed and settled due to this phenomenon.”

  2. romel garcia says:

    i work as firefighter for a city in texas, according to our mro (medical review officer) he say that its just a bunch of bull. he say taht poppy seed can’t give a false reading, i mentioned your show and he said you all were not doctors/lab techs to actually decipher the results that you were getting and that he needed proof.
    i say he’s wrong, great show guys keep up that mythbusting.

    • Tyrone says:

      Your Medical Review Officer should be fired if he really said that. No competent MRO would say such a thing, as it’s been well known in the medical literature for decades. See for example, Journal of Analytical Toxicology, Volume 14, Number 5, September 1990 , pp. 308-310(3)

  3. parsons says:

    the james bond movie was a representation of lead based paint. today we do not have that kind of paint for saftey, therefore when the two are not affected by the gold paint, they can’t say it is busted. they did not use the same kind of paint

    • Deof Movestofca says:

      “The myth stated that the actress portraying the gold plated woman in Goldfinger, Shirley Eaton, died as well. Ms. Eaton did survive the filming of Goldfinger and went on to appear in many more feature films and a segment for the show in which she confirmed she was still alive.”
      Can’t get more “the same kind of paint” than that.

  4. Eileen says:

    Romel Garcia and 42Adult,

    There’s actually a lot of documentation on the poppy-seed drug cases.

    I attached one link to a nytimes article, I suggest Romel give a copy of the article to his boss.


    • Knetdude says:

      Nothing like using a 23 year old article to try to “prove” your point. In case anyone hasn’t noticed, technology has changed in the last 23 years. Over the counter drug tests might show a positive, but lab tests won’t. Labs test urine samples again if they come up positive to confirm and use a more sensitive test if needed. There’s always hair and blood tests that will confirm or prove if it is positive.

      • Lab Rat says:

        Modern in lab tests would be more likely find traces of drug related chemicals.
        From my reading about poppy seed, I know the seed used in foods is from the papaver somniferum (opium poppy) plant. Recent lab tests have shown these seeds can contain varried ratios of chemical: morphine (8-14%), codeine 2.5-3.5%, narcotine (1-7.5%), papaverine 0.5-1%) and thebaine (0.1-2%).
        The question is.. Can the body take in enough of the above active chemicals to show up in tests. Considering the small quantities on/in foods and degragation buy cooking. Cooking in some cases may even inhance obsorption???
        Who knows ??????

        • nomenclator says:

          No recent lab tests have shown any more than a tiny trace amount of morphine in poppy seeds. The morphine is not actually in the poppy seeds themselves, but is in small specs of tissue from the poppy fruit that the seeds come from. The poppy fruit it self does not contain more than about 10% morphine, so there is no way a batch of poppy seeds can contain that much morphine. However some basic tests cannot distinguish between morphine and other chemicals produced by the poppy plant, and this is what accounts for the lab people deciding that the person took morphine or heroin. Further more sophisticated tests can then be made to make a distinction.

      • Tyrone says:

        The MODERN scientific literature is clear: “There are no unambiguous markers available to differentiate poppy food ingestion from heroin or pharmaceutical morphine use”
        Therapeutic Drug Monitoring: February 2010 – Volume 32 – Issue 1 – pp 11-18
        doi: 10.1097/FTD.0b013e3181c0eee0

      • atvchick says:

        Actually even in this day and age Lab tests are WRONG.. my boyfriend was drug screened at a doctors(with out his permission by the way) He doesn’t use hard core drugs and hasn’t in over 20 years…… BUT he was taking a PRESCRIPTION drug from HIS DOCTOR and this Doctor KNEW everything he was on His drug test from a doctors office Came back Positive for Opium – The Only medicine he was on that would come up as that in a drug test (and it says so on many Google searches) was the Loratabs he was prescribed….They accused him of taking Opium drugs When the only thing he was taking was what his doctor at the Pain clinic Prescibed him and HE gave them his entire Medical record, and every single pill he took – I FILLED out the papers I KNOW what he takes I put brand name/ generic name. MG , How many he took a day and how many hrs apart if it was more than 1 a day. SO don’t say Todays Labs don’t get anything wrong because they DO and they do it alot! and YES poppy seeds come up as Opium …. Learn to Google before looking like a fool

  5. Audrey says:

    Static Electricity, cleared my Ipod! What !
    Lightning follows me. I demagatize watches, and credit cards if I hold the strip.

  6. Lance Brydges says:

    I found the write up where Jamie and Adam were covered in gold paint but I can’t find the one where Kari was. I’m pretty sure I’m not confusing it with my dreams. I distinctly remember thinking it wasn’t fair. She didn’t have near as much flesh covered to cause any reaction. I mean really, what was with those boy’s briefs. A thong would have exposed enough skin to match the guys’ chest area and you would have still kept your family rating. I just watched a commercial where a woman was shown completely naked from behind. It was medical commercial but still, there it was. And I certainly don’t see anything wrong with breasts, but I’m from Canada. It’s legal up here. But still it should be legal there, if they were covered, with paint?
    Needless to say I would like to see more of Kari… you know what I mean.
    Keep Busting!
    Namarie an si

  7. steve lewis says:

    hi, i just been fired from my job for testing positive with opium in my result, thru eating bread with poppy seeds on it. I work in the railway industry the take the reading as low as 300 mine was 310. i am in a middle of a unfair dismisle case. so that is how bad it can afect your life.

    • Brandi says:

      take two tests in a clinic setting /
      eat a few poppy seed bagels between the
      two tests, should take two hours after you
      ate the bagels
      good proof is negative on first
      positive on second

    • Donna says:

      you got fired because you can’t spell. Use the spelling check feature….no excuses.

      • con says:

        He was a railroad worker… don’t really need to spell…

  8. Carolyn says:

    I’d love to see a follow up episode with other types of drug testing like hair, sweat, blood and saliva. I’d also like to see what other common over the counter things can give a false positive. I’ve heard that Advil can be mistaken for pot.

    • atvchick says:

      Allergy pills like Bendaryl I forget what it came up as it’s been several years ago but I think it was Opium , It happened to my kids dad at his work and he was fired for it (he didn’t use street drugs) They did a random drug test he told the people who were doing it he was on Allergy medicine. They jotted it down (or so they said) his results came back and he was fired for Taking illegal drugs!

  9. Melissa says:

    My own research and the experience of friends, proves to me that poppy seeds can cause a false positive drug test. Questions: Does it show up positive in both urine AND blood analysis? Also, I eat alot of salads, and my dressing of choice is Poppy Seed Dressing. Most pieces on line address eating poppy seed muffins or bread. Have any of you heard about studies regarding false positives and poppy seed SALAD DRESSING?? I’m not a current user, but I receive services from a pain clinic which includes some random drug testing. I was tested unexpectedly on 3 days ago, and altho i told them of my regular “DofC” (Poppy Seed Dressing-LOL), I wasn’t able to get an answer about the salad dressing usage would or would not affect my drug test. (I would hate to loose my pain mgmt treatmentiok comments, questions, and/or concerns on the subject would be appreciated!!!

  10. IWannaKnow says:

    I want to know: if eating poppy seeds can cause you te test positive for opiods, then how many poppy seeds would be required for ingestion to produce the same effects as actually taking the drugs? Let’s face it, if I going to get fired for it, I want to at least enjoy the ride first.

  11. Jett says:

    I actually know a bus driver who was randomly tested and came up positive for heroin – because he ate poppy seed sandwhiches for two weeks straight – he ended up resolving the issue with further testing

  12. chandler says:

    I bet you couldnt float with regular balloons

  13. umpity squat says:

    im high as hell right now … poppy da bomb yo!.. lol
    im even floating some baloons… wheeeee!!!

  14. Jimbo says:

    If you are NOT hired or fired as a result of eating Poppy Seeds, you can sue for damages.

    You can sue to employer for loss of wages.
    You can sue the drug test company.
    You can sue the company that put poppy seeds in the food without warning you of the results.

    Several lawsuits have been won.

  15. Nicole says:

    I think I know why Jamie’s blood pressure went up when he was painted gold. I’m alot like Jamie. in a sense our personalitys are very alike. (both liking to be in control of something) I think he might have a slight case of anexiety disorder. Because I resently found out I have it (I’m a 15yrold female)and I feel how he was describing he felt(cold & hot, faint, high bloodpressure) when he had the paint on. Its something about knowing that your, in a way, being confined. It mentally gets you first, then starts affecting your body in a “sick” like reaction. Thats just what I think based off what he described. And I have no way of being so sure, but, I think he does have a slight case of anexiety. It happens when you feel like your not in control of anything.

  16. Angel says:

    Hi, I love your show so I have a Myth for you What if someone is golfing and then lighting comes.Then that person throws their metal goof club then the lighting fallows.

  17. kathy Falcone says:

    I had a urine test today at a pain clinic and 51 hours ago I had a poppy seed bagel at a grocery store will this show up in my urine

  18. Eric Cmcknight sr says:

    I have a Myth that I hard, that maybe true or not!
    I live in Upstate New York were a few pedestrians
    /train accidents had occurred, during the wintertime.

    The Myth that I would look to be buster is that snow

    muffles/absorbs the sound of an on coming train that

    includes the horn. “Thus enabling pedestrians to hear

    the on coming train”.

    Sincerely: “Myth Busted USNY” Eric McKnight

  19. EdVal58 says:

    I am on probation, any drugs that show up on a random test could result in problems. Although I do not do any or even drink alcohol, I do like to cook.My recent recipe for onion rolls calls for poppy seeds. I heard stories about the drug test flaws. So as an avid fan of your show, I have inquired here with you. Well, thanks for the advise, to be darn sure, I will definitly leave out the poppy seeds, and now, so much for my local bagel shoppe as well!!!! Thxs Again Ed V

  20. Patrick says:

    POPPY SEEDS WILL MAKE YOU FAIL FOR OPIUM ON A STANDARD DRUG TEST. I am on probation and they drug test me weekly. yesterday I ate a fairly large poppy seed muffin thinking the myth was a lie. I went and took a drug test about two hours ago and FAILED for morphine. I now have to pay $60 to send it off to a lab. I hope lab testing can prove that the results came from poppy seeds.

    • Chris says:

      Just because you passed your drug test doesn’t mean another person will pass it either. Similarly, vice versa. It’s all in the statistics. The fact is, everyone is different and if your body hasn’t cleared enough of the opiate from what you ate, the test WILL detect it. This is technically a good thing since that means the test is very sensitive to opiates. The thing is, sometimes it can also be a bad thing since your ingestion of opiates isn’t due to a drug related addition. As for the law and employment, no one can convict you with a single positive test without another confirmation (I’m a medical doctor). Usually, a second test is used that is more specific to rule in disease. Only if this is positive then the probability that you actually are on opiates is much higher and the evidence becomes much more credible.

    • becca says:

      How did the lab test come back? I ate a some poppy seed dressing and I’m worried. Do u know anything about it showing up in hair testing?

  21. Dale says:

    Did anyone else notice Kari byron helping with the balloon in Ep 3?
    Shes also wearing a delightful dog collar!


    there is no F-ing reason that anyone should be allowed to use Poppy Seeds in ANYTHING that is commercially sold as a food product,

    with all this hassle and drama,

    UNLESS they offer the poppy seeds as a option to be intentionally added to your food product, and in packaged goods have a warning on the packaging that the stupid seeds that you did not ask for can ruin your life and cost you massive amounts of money and stress.

    Whatever Poppy Seeds may add to a food product NONE of it is worth this drug-false postive hassle.

    I have a FAA drug test tommorrow and I ate two cheesburgers at Burger king a few hourus ago.
    As I was finishing the first burger, I realized that there were poppy seeds on the Burger King hamburger buns, and starting spitting out the remains of the last bite all over the restaurant table.

    I am going to sue the sh#$ out of Burger King if this screws up my job. McDonalds/Wendys etc.. do not use poppy seeds on their buns, I did NOT ASK FOR THEM on my food, and did not want or pay attention to them until it occurred to me that I heard someone once mention they could affect a drug test.

    I am so pissed off at Burger King right now.. I will under no circumstance eat there again ever and will sue them if this messes up my drug test.

    I am gonna tell the testing people about the hamburger bun and at least let them know in advance. THANKS BURGER KING YOU F#$%^@ A&&[email protected]))#& !!!


    in case anyone else finds my rant in the future, it appears that Burger King uses sesame seeds,
    not poppy seeds on their buns.

    I am relieved that this is the case, but given the hysteria and consequences of poppy seeds, all seeds on buns should be clearly identified in advance for any purchasers.

    this is not 1200 A.D.- with modern drug testing being obligatory, the time for these seeds on buns is past now.

    • casey says:

      I just found out that Arbys beef and chedder onion buns have poppy seeds.. I’m on probation as well and ate one about 4 hours before they gave me a drug test.. I haven’t got my results back yet but hopefully I pass.. I agree that they should not put those things on our food without informing us..

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