EtG testing is a recently established form of alcohol evaluation that works differently from previous forms of alcohol testing. Rather than testing a sample for levels of ethanol, an ETG test looks for the level of EtG in the body to reach its conclusion. EtG is a metabolite that remains in the body for a period of time after alcohol is consumed. By evaluating the level of EtG, the test is able to determine if there has been any alcohol consumption in the last 4-5 days (an improvement over the 9-12 hours that is standard with other forms of testing).
EtG is a clearer form of testing that evades some of the issues related to urine testing, which largely involve issues with ethanol fluctuation between collection and testing. People who are diabetic give urine samples which have higher levels of glucose and this can be a problem when it comes to testing because there is also a natural level of yeast in human urine. When these two ingredients work together they can increase the level of ethanol in the sample negating the sample’s viability for testing. The amount of ethanol in a urine sample can also be altered by time spent in a container allowing the fluid to evaporate. Using EtG instead of ethanol prevents this sort of fluctuation between collection and testing.
EtG is also able to detect alcohol use in people who aren’t habitual users. This method is able to detect alcohol in multiple body fluids and hair as well making it a much clearer method of evaluating alcohol consumption with more options for testing. Standard alcohol testing generally requires the person being tested to be a consistent enough drinker to detect the presence of alcohol while EtG testing can detect the presence of alcohol in even casual drinkers. This happens to also be one of the reasons that FDA and SAMHSA approval have been withheld pending further evaluation of the alcohol testing method and to establish a point at which the level of EtG in a sample should be considered a positive result. This is because some products such as hand sanitizers, which contain ethanol, as well as certain foods and inhaled ethanol can get a positive result from incidental exposure.
Due to the concerns about incidental exposure, positive results need to be backed up with a second test that verifies those results. This is especially true in any case that involves a court and a judge overseeing the matter. There are already plans in place to find the right level at which it is appropriate to consider a true positive on the test. Once this aspect of the EtG test has been established and it gains FDA approval, EtG stands to be a much improved and more consistent way of testing for alcohol use in employees. With its help, many businesses will be able to improve the way they run their business.