What is an ETG Test?
An ETG test for alcohol is a rapid on-site urine test which detects the presence of Ethyl Glucuronide (ETG) which is a direct metabolite of alcohol (ethanol). The presence of ETG in urine may be used to detect recent alcohol ingestion, as it is detectable in urine even after ethanol is no longer measurable.
Rapid ETG tests give results in less than 10 minutes and have a high accuracy level. Currently the format is a single dip ETG urine test strip. Over the coming years you will see an ETG test integrated into combination drug test cups, allowing the test to be performed as part of routine multi-drug screening
ETG test detections times
The ETG test is also known as the 80 hour alcohol test but actually the detection time is usually shorter than 80 hours. Urine ETG testing is ideal for zero tolerance alcohol treatment programs and alcohol abstinence enforcement where urine testing twice weekly ensures no ethanol ingestion compliance.
How long does ETG really detect alcohol?
Although the ETG test is commonly known as the 80 hour alcohol test, in most cases the detection time is considerably shorter. After a small to moderate amount of alcohol has been consumed, the detection time is usually up to about 48 hours. If a larger amount of alcohol has been consumed it can be detected up to 72 hours. It would be rare to detect ETG in urine up to 80 hours.
How long after consumption of alcohol the ETG test remains positive, depends on multiple factors, including how much alcohol was consumed, and how quickly the individual person being tested processes the alcohol through their body. Because of this there is considerable variation in the exact time the ETG test will really detect alcohol after consumption.
How accurate is ETG testing?
ETG testing is very accurate at detecting alcohol consumption. The ETG test strips that we stock have a test sensitivity of 500ng/mL and a 99% accuracy in clinical trials.
How much do you have to drink to fail an ETG test?
An ETG test is very sensitive at detecting alcohol consumption, and you do not have to be a heavy drinker for it to test positive. After just one drink you can have a positive ETG test.
Can you get a false positive on an ETG test?
False positives on ETG tests do occur, but they are usually caused by the consumption or exposure to alcohol in some other form ie mouthwash, hand sanitiser, foods containing alcohol.
False positives are more common when you are using an extra sensitive ETG test as they can detect the small amounts of alcohol in many common household products.
ETG test facts and myths
ETG tests remain positive long after blood alcohol levels return to zero ?
True. The exact period depends how much alcohol was consumed, but this can be as long as 80 hours after ethanol was consumed.
ETG tests will determine when and how much alcohol was consumed ?
False. A rapid ETG test only shows ethanol was consumed at some point prior to the test, not when or how much.
ETG tests can give false positive results from ethanol produced in the body in diseases such as diabetes?
False. The cut off level set for the rapid ETG test is well above the levels expected in metabolic diseases such as diabetic keto-acidosis and liver disease.
Want to find out more facts and myths about the ETG test then read our new article ETG facts and myths