What is an EtG Urine Test?
13 January, 2023
EtG, also known as ethyl glucuronide, is a direct byproduct of ethanol and glucuronide. When an individual consumes an alcoholic beverage, it will form and is traceable in an EtG urine test. An EtG test is an alcohol testing method that analyses an individual’s urine to determine whether they have consumed alcohol. In addition, it is detectable in urine samples up to four days after alcohol consumption; this makes ETG testing more accurate than other alcohol testing methods.
If you are considering conducting EtG tests at the workplace, it is best to help identify employees with a substance use history. EtG tests are reliable and highly accurate; this testing method can be valuable in keeping the workplace safe from substance-related issues. This article will talk more about EtG tests, including how it works, what they can trace and how accurate they are.
Why Use EtG Urine Testing?
An EtG urine test analyses the provided specimen to determine EtG levels. When consuming alcohol, our liver quickly processes and metabolises ethanol into various chemical compounds. In addition, these compounds, including EtG, are excreted through urine within hours. Therefore, EtG tests use urine samples to detect ethanol consumption for up to 80 hours. Moreover, it is standard to do EtG testing at certified laboratories, and specimens are collected and brought to this facility for testing.
In particular, EtG testing is helpful for workplace testing since it can identify alcohol consumption even if the individual has metabolised all the ethanol in their system. Therefore, this type of test can provide a more accurate result than breathalysers. Moreover, EtG testing makes it easier to identify people abusing alcohol at work or for those in rehabilitation programs. Rehabilitation centres can benefit from EtG testing as it can determine even small amounts of alcohol.
How do EtG tests compare to blood or urine testing? It is worth noting that each test methods process the sample on different criteria. Urine detects EtG compounds for an extended period than blood or breath samples. Furthermore, industries with high-risk environments require ETG urine testing to ensure all employees are fit to do their jobs. For example, aviation, transportation, mining and construction industries implement zero-tolerance policies.
When is EtG Testing Appropriate to Use?
There are various situations where EtG testing may be appropriate to use:
- If there is reasonable suspicion that an employee consumes alcohol during work hours.
- In determining if an employee is fit for work.
- If testing aims to promote a healthy, safe and substance-free workplace.
- Monitoring alcohol abstinence.
What are the Benefits of EtG Urine Tests?
There are several benefits of using EtG urine tests. First, it is a highly accurate and reliable form of alcohol testing. EtG tests are highly precise, making them helpful in identifying staff who may be consuming alcohol during work hours or are currently under the influence of alcohol.
Second, it can trace recent consumption of alcohol and up to 80 hours, while other testing methods cannot. For example, alcohol breath testing using breathalysers can only identify alcohol within the past few hours after consumption. In addition, EtG testing is sensitive to low levels of alcohol. It is valuable in court cases, such as criminal justice and child custody, where evidence is vital.
Lastly, EtG urine test results are easily interpretable without the help of professionals. Moreover, EtG testing is a practical way to keep the workplace safe and substance-free. Therefore, this test method is highly beneficial for those wanting to conduct alcohol testing. However, it is vital to note that EtG testing does not specify the amount of alcohol consumed, unlike a breathalyser.
Furthermore, a positive EtG result does not automatically indicate that the individual was under the influence of alcohol at the time they provided the urine sample. Therefore, if you want to use EtG testing in the workplace, you must communicate with employees about the potential limitations of this type of testing.
What are the Limitations of ETG Alcohol Tests?
EtG testing is typically highly accurate. However, there are a few potential causes of false positive results. These include:
- Consuming food or beverage with a small amount of alcohol
- Alcohol-based products like mouthwash and hand sanitiser
- Cold and cough syrup, and OTC and prescription medicines
- Incidental exposure to cigarette smoke
EtG Urine Tests: Uses and Accuracy
Now that we know that EtG urine tests cannot determine the amount of alcohol consumed, it is best to understand the uses and their accuracy. While higher levels of EtG might indicate more significant amounts of alcohol consumption, the exact measurement is affected by several factors. For example, when and how much was the amount of alcohol consumed? The longer the period after consumption, the lower the EtG. In addition, people can have varying EtG levels depending on their metabolism.
It is vital to remember that EtG testing is best for determining abstinence in situations that do not allow consuming alcohol. Alcohol treatment programs, child custody or other legal cases, DUI or probation programs may benefit from EtG tests. In addition, people working in aviation, transportation, military and healthcare will likely undergo regular testing as their jobs require strict monitoring.
There are various alcohol-based household products, and exposure to these products could lead to false positive results on an EtG urine test. Therefore, avoiding them before the test can help avoid false positives. When conducting the alcohol test, note that there is no correlation between the detected amount and the impairment level during the time of sample collection. There is also no correlation between the amount of ingested alcohol and the amount in the test result.
Alternative Alcohol Testing Methods
There are various testing methods available. EtG tests are reliable for determining abstinence. If you want instant alcohol testing results, you may want to try a different approach.
- Breath Testing – breathalysers are portable, handheld devices that can provide exact BAC readings.
- Blood Testing
- Saliva Testing
- Hair Testing
In conclusion, EtG urine tests are highly accurate. They can detect low levels of alcohol for an extended period than other methods. Therefore, it is suitable in various cases, such as legal, healthcare, and professional matters. However, they do have some limitations. To reduce the risks of getting false-positive results, it is vital to be aware of the factors that cause them. Consulting a professional is best before conducting EtG alcohol testing.
Understanding the accuracy and limitations of EtG testing is essential. In addition, it is vital for companies to avail of testing services from accredited and certified laboratories to ensure reliable and accurate results. Furthermore, there should be alternative testing methods available for confirmatory examination. Different test procedures will help ensure that employees are not intoxicated during work hours. Lastly, having a workplace policy improves the health and safety of all employees.