The US Government’s $983 Freeze-Dried Urine

The US Government’s $983 Freeze-Dried Urine

This is a packet and bottle
of freeze-dried urine, and the United States government
will sell it to you for $983, plus shipping. Which is perhaps the strangest sentence I’ve
ever started a video with, but it’s true. What’s even stranger is:
that’s a pretty reasonable price. These are two of more than 1,000
Standard Reference Materials that are kept here at the National Institute
of Standards and Technology. Here at NIST, we produce
Standard Reference Materials or SRMs for short. SRMs are super characterised materials that
our customers use to make sure their measurements
on their materials and processes are accurate and reliable. When a customer buys one of our SRMs, they get both a unit of material
and a certificate of analysis. Each property, whether it’s a chemical constituent or a physical characteristic of the material is a certified property and it’s measured most accurately. The certificate of analysis is just as important
as the material itself. Without the certificate and all the information
that’s inside of it, the SRM is just another bottle of stuff. We have a variety of food materials in our
SRM catalogue, so this is slurried spinach. When you slurry the spinach, it’s nice and
homogenous. You sample a little bit from the top, it’s
the same as sampling from the bottom. We also have our infamous domestic sludge, from a waste water treatment process, that has been dried, ground up, homogenised
into this nice, fine powder. We take this material. We certify various toxic elements
within the sludge, that’s what it’s used for. We also have the microsphere slide that contains
the space beads. They’re 10 micron-wide, polystyrene spheres that were formed on
the space shuttle in zero gravity. We have to store some of our more
sensitive materials in cryocooled conditions. We have our peanut butter, right there in
a glass jar. Oh, it’s crackling. Then, we have our whale blubber,
organics in whale blubber. This is actually whale blubber tissue from
a beached whale. It’s for tracking organic contaminants in
the environment, and whales are the end of the food chain. Every one of these reference materials has
to be exactly the same, to an incredibly precise margin. They’ll be used by people around the world
to calibrate and test machinery. Now, other places make
reference materials too. It’s just that everything in this warehouse
has the US Government stamp of approval on it. Now, just to be clear, the vast majority of
reference materials here are pretty dull. They’re for industrial processes, so they’re
metal, or glass, or pure elements. There are three types of bauxite: from Suriname,
Jamaica or the Dominican Republic. There’s even really precise mixes of gases
available, along with some radioactive elements. Sometimes, it takes us years to actually procure
a new material that becomes an SRM a couple of years later. We buy industrial products directly. It comes from a different source each time
we make it, but we make it the same way, and we characterise it in the same fashion. Either we determine the chemical composition
or its physical characteristics, but we do that with accuracy. In other cases, we have SRMs that are used
to determine how they break. We measure over and over again,
with different methods, to ensure that what we’re measuring is the
true value in that particular material. The material itself is not precise. The measurements that characterise it
are precise. So if you haven’t worked it out yet, the reason that freeze-dried urine is one
of the reference materials is because there are folks out there with
machines that test urine. They’re either testing for drugs, so the Institute will sell you urine laced
with exact amounts of the metabolites of cannabis or cocaine, or they’re testing for poisons and toxic elements. So if you need to calibrate
one of those testing machines, to make sure that the results are accurate, then the folks here
are the ones you’re going to call. Thank you to everyone here at the National
Institute of Standards and Technology. Pull down the description for more about Standard
Reference Materials and about their work.


  1. the only thing i could think the entire time was that it was an elemental magic essence facility, and that these are all potent, standardized alchemical reagents

  2. I see interesting..

    Sale! limited offer!

    You can buy mine now, for just 50 pounds.. pure quality, I don't smoke or drink (alot). Get your best urine now!

    From 950 pound to only 50 pounds! It's a deal you will not find anywhere else in the world!

    A different colour of urine is non refundable, also different smells like garlic, pizza or any other food and drink related smells will not be refunded.

    If you get drunk while drinking my urine specimen I will not be held countable.

    If you use my urine as eye droplets. I will not grand any medical advice if asked for non will i refund.

    When releasing cap of the bottle or dropping bottle. No refund is granted.

    This product is of high quality and purely made by yours truly. A certificate will be proof of scientific analyse.

  3. Did the person who provided the drug-laced urine take the drugs or were the drugs put into the urine after it left the body?

  4. It's like homeopathy but actually real.

    Also, for the Citation Needed fans: Do they have kitten chlamydia? 😉

  5. I'm an analytical chemist and I never knew about SRMs, I guess it's implicit, just never really thought about it! Super interesting. Thank you for making this video!

  6. How they calibrated their stuff🧐 to be accurate? that don't make sense to me though… They can be accurate as they like if they calibrate their stuff with their own semples they will soon or later be off their accuratcy and thisfore every device that makes a calibration with this semples… And they are every time right because they are the Government… So it doesn't matter if they are shifting their Calibration unintentional or on purpose… {–.–}

  7. I used to live next to this place. I could see it on the way to school, the store, anything like that. There's a massive space of empty land around it, fences. I decided as a little kid, one day I was going to go in.

  8. I got so used to hearing about military spending abuse ($9,000 toilets, $2,000 hammers, etc.) that I was expecting to hear that we were over paying for urine rather than the government was SELLING urine for that price, freeze dried or not.

  9. Wow, I can’t believe they made the creative inventory from Minecraft into a real thing

  10. Me and the boys buying a $1000 jar of piss from the US government

  11. "So, your job is to ensure that we have a reliable sample of urine for testing proposes."
    "Now, before we go any further, are you willing to submit to a drug test?"

  12. Hw do they make it sure that the measurements that verify that these sample specimens are uniform, are uniform? To declare two samples uniform, you need a way of analysing the two specimens which will guarantee that the analysis of the two specimens were identical – but how do you achieve that? How do you achieve consistent analysis without using some kind of "sample" to check each analysis against? Because if you do so, the question remains: how do you make sure that "sample" is consistent every time you make such an analisys check?
    It seems that somewhere down the line there must be an assumption of consistency instead of a proof of it…

  13. I recently was able to take a tour of NIST and got to see some of the other places that they have on site, such as their Nuclear Reactor and the robotics area. It was quite cool, as the reactor was in its "inactive" stage so they got to show us the tubes they allow particles to flow through for experiments. Also we got to go inside the reactor hall.

  14. I will sell you stale discounter cookies, that i have precisely measured to taste like ass. With a Certificate of Analysis of course!

  15. so when I pee in a cup at the doctors this is where it ends up and this is why they are so entheusiastic about me pissing in cups.

  16. So basically they are the ones that decide what measurement a material is going to be . They said we take it from different sources but 'make ' it the same value as other ones

  17. "Sorry fellas, I'm working late tonight. Gotta do a fuckton of coke so we can freeze-dry my piss for the lab tomorrow morning."

  18. there is a very big problem with a lot these samples. Anything biological in particular would have to be so greatly changed from the nature it would be found in the real world. Spinach for example is a living plant even after harvesting, only dies when we cook or blend it and from then on humans would only usually store it for a number of hours before consumption.

    pureed spinach is a jar is a very different thing entirely, as even more so for freeze dried urine as our urine would never get freeze dried, or the wastewater sludge which would never be dried into an inert powder but is instead a bubbling wildy varying mix of chemicals, oils, detergents, biological matter and living bacteria out in the real world.

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