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EtG Dipstick Test: What It Is, How To Conduct, And Accuracy

19 January, 2024

A professional analysing a urine sample

Alcohol screening is a crucial component for identifying individuals with Alcohol Use Disorders (AUD). Urine testing is a popular method of detecting recent alcohol consumption. An Ethyl Glucuronide (EtG) test uses urine samples to trace alcohol intake for up to 80 hours. An EtG dipstick test kit typically contains test strips with reactive pads. The user must dip this into the sample and wait until the prescribed time. It is a reliable test that produces accurate results.

Substance abuse is a serious issue that affects many individuals. It has many negative impacts on individuals and society as a whole. Hence, testing is crucial for ensuring the health and safety of individuals. There are various tests available, including breath and saliva testing. Nevertheless, urine testing remains an accurate and reliable method of identifying alcohol misuse. This article will present information about EtG tests, how to conduct them, and their accuracy.

What Is an EtG Dipstick Test?

An EtG dipstick test is an alcohol screening method that detects the presence of EtG. EtG is an ethanol metabolite the body produces after consuming alcohol. It has a detection window of up to 80 hours, making it a reliable test for tracing recent consumption of alcohol. This test is often used in workplace settings and to monitor those under probation programs.

The testing kit typically contains testing strips, which are about the size of a pencil. One end contains the reactive pad with a chemical reagent to the alcohol metabolite. This pad will change colour when it comes into contact with the alcohol biomarker. It will react to even low levels of EtG.

People can purchase home EtG test kits in pharmacies or from online retailers. However, it is crucial to select a trusted and reputable brand. The kit should also follow the relevant standards to ensure it can produce accurate results. This convenient testing kit is a helpful alternative to other methods, like breath alcohol tests, saliva alcohol tests, and hair follicle alcohol tests.

Advantages Over Other Methods

  • Cost-effective: EtG dipstick testing is comparatively cheaper than other testing methods, especially those that require going to a medical facility.
  • Non-invasive: this test does not involve invasive procedures like injections. This lessens discomfort and increases convenience for individuals.
  • Ease of use: people can easily follow the instructions to conduct the test in the comfort of their homes, without medical supervision.
  • Portable: individuals may use EtG alcohol test kits whenever needed since they are easy to carry around.
  • Quick results: these tests can produce results within minutes. This enables people to effectively monitor their BAC levels

A professional holding a sterile plastic container for urine collection

How an EtG Dipstick Test Is Conducted

To conduct an EtG dipstick test, the individual must first start by collecting a urine sample. It is crucial to collect the biological sample in a sterile plastic container. This may come with the testing kit, or the individual may purchase one from the pharmacy. The individual should also wash their hands and genitals, if possible, to ensure the accuracy of the results. Ideally, they should collect a midstream sample.

It is essential to follow the instructions of the device manufacturer for reliable results. After the sample collection, the individual should dip the testing strips into the sample. Then, they should wait until the prescribed time indicated in the manual. When the time elapses, they may check what colour the pad has changed into.

The individual must carefully compare the extent of the colour change with the colour chart. This colour result comparison chart helps the individual determine the concentration of alcohol found in the sample. Overall, the procedures of an EtG urine test are easy to conduct.

How It Works

The urine EtG alcohol test works by monitoring the presence of the biomarker of alcohol. A chemical reaction occurs when the reaction pads are dipped into the sample and come into contact with ethanol. This reaction results in the reaction pad changing colours. The final colour will reflect the amount of alcohol in the sample.

It is essential to match the colour on the dipstick as closely as possible to the available options in the colour guide. In such cases wherein there is no exact match, they may select the closest colour present in the guide.

Three glasses of alcoholic beverages

Accuracy of an EtG Dipstick Test Results

People can expect the results of an EtG dipstick test to be accurate and reliable. Despite the low cost and simple testing procedure, this test is an effective method of tracing alcohol consumption. However, it is crucial to remember that many factors can affect the results. Hence, individuals must carefully follow the instructions listed by the product manufacturer.

Moreover, it is recommended to have an abstinence period from consuming alcoholic beverages before taking the test for more reliable results. This reduces the risks of false positives, which are more likely to occur the smaller the gap between alcohol consumption and testing. In addition, they should not attempt to tamper with the sample by adding additional substances.

Furthermore, individuals must also remember that EtG tests only a maximum detection window of 80 hours. Beyond that period, it may not be possible to trace the alcohol ingestion. Generally, people can expect the most accurate results if they take the test up to 24 hours after alcohol consumption.

Factors that May Influence the Results

Despite its accuracy, several factors may affect the results of an EtG urine test. Firstly, the quality of the EtG test strip kit is crucial. Hence, it is ideal to purchase from a reputable brand. Individuals may also check reviews to ensure the reliability of the product. Ideally, the product should be made from non-toxic materials and are easy to clean and sterilise.

Ensuring proper collection is also crucial. A contaminated sample will likely produce inaccurate results. Furthermore, the testing environment should be free from alcohol-based products. Lastly, individual factors, like health conditions, may also affect the results.

Conclusion

An EtG dipstick test is an effective method of identifying alcohol misuse. This test uses a testing strip with a reactive pad that changes colours after coming into contact with alcohol. It has a detection period of up to 80 hours and provides reliable and accurate results. Furthermore, it is easy to conduct the testing procedure. Nevertheless, it is crucial to follow the correct procedure and avoid contaminating the samples.

To start, they must collect a mid-stream sample into a sterile container. Then, they may dip the strips inside and wait until the prescribed time elapses. Afterwards, they may compare the colour of the reaction pad to the colour guide. This simple procedure makes it ideal to use in various settings, such as workplaces, schools, and homes. Moreover, its quick results make it convenient to conduct, compared to taking a laboratory test.

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