The Various Types of Alcohol Tests

The most common drug affecting performance in the workplace and other institutions is alcohol. This has opened up the market for various alcohol tests. Businesses, schools, universities, and law enforcement groups are using these tests to check the level of alcohol in a person’s system. Alcohol abuse in a workplace may make a person a danger to themselves and others, or simply unproductive.

Some of these can only determine the recent consumption of alcohol. Others can detect a pattern of alcohol abuse over time.

The current types of tests available can analyze samples of a person’s breath, urine, blood, saliva, hair, and sweat. The most commonly used personal alcohol tests currently are breathalyzers which analyze a sample of a person’s breath.

Breath Alcohol Tests

Breathalyzers provide an almost instant result. They can also be an economical way to keep track of your Breath Alcohol Concentration (BrAC), levels. Breathalysers can detect alcohol in your system for up to 24 hours after drinking. You can also easily buy Personal breathalyzers online in a range of sizes, functionalities, and prices.

Some are a compact key ring style. This means you always have your breathalyser handy for those “spur of the moment” after work drinks. Other models are more durable and are perfect for a workplace to use to regularly test employees. Most come with replacement mouth pieces. This makes hygienic sharing easy. Some models also work with a smartphone app so that you can keep a record of your alcohol levels and consumption over time. Quality personal breathalyzers are as accurate as Police issued ones so you can have complete faith in the results.

Blood Alcohol Tests

Police use Blood alcohol tests to confirm the results of breath and urine tests. A laboratory analyses a blood sample and the result shows a person’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). A drink driver can be convicted with this result. This kind of tests can detect the level of alcohol consumption in the past 24 hours. Blood tests are also done in a hospital after workplace or traffic accidents.

Saliva Alcohol Tests

Saliva alcohol tests are a cheap, easy, and effective way to test for alcohol consumption in the workplace. This test is reasonably non-invasive, simply requiring a swab from the inside of the cheek. This does require the test subject to cooperate. Saliva tests can detect the presence of alcohol in the system for around 10-24 hours after drinking. Saliva test kits can give a result in as little as 20 seconds.

Like urine tests, they will not give an accurate BAC, they simply detect the presence of alcohol and further testing with a blood alcohol test may be required.

Urine Alcohol Tests

Urine tests are easy to use, but require a sterile sample. This is intrusive and can be be hard to obtain. Urine alcohol tests simply shows the presence of alcohol in a person’s system. Therefore, they can’t show how much a person has drunk, how regularly they drink, or how long it has been since they last had a drink . Urine can contain alcohol for 12 to 48 hours after drinking.

The more complex EtG (ethyl glucuronide metabolite) urine test can detect alcohol for up to 5 days after ingestion. Exposure to ethanol found in alcohol causes a metabolyte called Ethyl Glucuronide to form in urine. The presence of EtG in urine is proof of alcohol consumption at some point in the last few days. It does not however show current or previous levels of intoxication.

Hair Tests

Your hair can also be tested for alcohol use. Hair follicles, like urine also show a record of EtG from alcohol consumption. EtG can be found in hair for up to 90 days after the consumption of alcohol. This complicated process is completed in a laboratory. Tests are usually only performed in cases of extreme alcohol abuse. Usually when someone is required by the courts to completely abstain from alcohol. This could be for child custody, probation, or other legal reasons.

This alcohol test shows long term behaviour patterns, rather than current status. The EtG test is very sensitive however and can pick up even the slightest traces of alcohol. Some positive results may be the result of contact with alcohol in items such as common household cleaners.

New Technology Tests on skin

A thin, flexible patch worn on the skin is the most recent development in alcohol tests. This patch detects a person’s BAC through their sweat. The BACtrack Skyn is the most advanced technology available on the market. It is also the world’s first wearable transdermal alcohol monitor. This device is worn continuously showing real time monitoring of blood alcohol levels. The patches work by stimulating the body to sweat in the area under the patch. It uses a technique that drives a chemical across the skin creating sweat. An electronic chip analyses the sweat.The sensor works quickly and sends the results to a mobile device or laptop.

The sweat generation can be continuous, therefore allowing for constant monitoring over hours or days. Additionally, you can link the patch to a vehicle interlock system . This is vehicle locking device will only allow the vehicle to start when the driver has passed an alcohol test. Results from comparison Tests on skin patches and breathalyzers found that the results were almost identical. Above all, this effective newer technology can be relied on to give accurate results.