What is Ethyl Glucuronide?
Ethyl Glucuronide (EtG) is a direct
metabolite of beverage alcohol (ethanol). Its presence in urine may be
used to detect recent alcohol consumption, even after ethanol is no
longer measurable. The presence of EtG in urine is a definitive
indicator that alcohol was ingested.
Key Benefits of Using EtG
Detects recent usage more accurately
and for a longer period of time than standard testing
Ideal for zero tolerance and
Strong indicator of alcohol
ingestion within the previous 3 to 4 days
EtG is only evident when alcohol is
consumed and is not produced as a result of fermentation
Allows monitoring in alcohol
Acts as an early warning system to
detect t rends towards relapse
Tests are performed by LC/MS/MS on
state of the art equipment for accuracy and reliability
Thirty-six hour turnaround time from
receipt of specimen
EtG may be run on urine specimens in
conjunction with other drug testing panels
How long can EtG be detected in urine?
Traditional laboratory methods detect the
actual alcohol in the body, which reflects current use within the past
few hours (depending on how much is consumed). The presence of EtG in
urine indicates that ethanol was ingested within the previous 3 to 4
days, or approximately 80 hours after ethanol is eliminated from the
body. Therefore, EtG is a more accurate indicator of the recent
injection of alcohol than measuring for the presence of ethanol itself.
How accurate and reliable
is the EtG test?
EtG is a direct metabolite of alcohol
(ethanol), and its detection in urine is highly specific, similar to
testing for other drugs. Add to this, our lab utilizes the most
sophisticated, sensitive, and specific equipment and technology
available, LC/MS/MS, to screen, confirm, and quantitate EtG. This
methodology provides highly accurate results. A in the case with any
laboratory test, it is also very important to obtain clinical
Can residual EtG be
detected in the urine of long-term alcoholics who abstain?
Studies indicate that alcoholics in
abstinence have no detectable levels of EtG in their urine after
approximately 80 hours of detoxification.
What about urine alcohol
produced by fermentation?
EtG is only detected in urine when
alcohol is consumed. This is important since it is possible to have
alcohol in urine without drinking. Alcohol in urine without drinking is
due to the production of ethanol in vitro. Ethanol in vitro is
spontaneously produced in the bladder or the specimen container itself,
due to fermentation of urine samples containing sugars (diabetes) and
yeast or bacteria. Since the ethanol produced is not metabolized by the
liver, EtG will not be produced and will therefore not be detected in a
urine containing alcohol as a result of fermentation.
How stable is EtG in
Studies show that EtG is stable in urine
for more than 4 days at room temperature. Recent experiments indicate
that heating urine to 100 degrees C actually increased the stability of
EtG. Therefore, heat does not cause the breakdown of EtG, it actually
increases stability. In addition, no artificial formation of EtG was
found to occur following the prolonged storage of urine at room
temperature fortified with 1% ethanol.
In general, what methods
are used to detect EtG?
Methods to detect EtG include immunoassay
(EIA or ELISA), gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), liquid
chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS), and liquid chromatography/mass
spectrometry/mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS). Immunoassay methods are of
limited specificity and sensitivity with a limit of detection of
approximately 1000 ng/mL. GC/MS and LC/MS methods are much more
specific than immunoassay, and offer detection limits of approximately
LC/MS/MS methods utilize the most
technologically advanced instrumentation currently available in forensic
and clinical toxicology and provide the highest sensitivity. Our lab
utilizes an LC/MS/MS instrument for the confirmation of EtG, which has a
limit of detection of 250 ng/mL.
Will the use of incidental alcohol, such
as mouthwash and
Over-the-Counter (OTC) cough syrups trigger a positive
Tests show that “incidental exposure” to
the chronic use of food product (vanilla extract), hygiene products,
mouthwash, or OTC medications (cough syrups) can produce EtG
concentrations in excess of 100 ng/mL. However, if measurable ethanol
is detected (greater than .04 gm%) in the urine, and EtG is also
detected in excess of 250 ng/mL, then this is very strong evidence that
beverage alcohol was consumed.
Most alcohol abstinence programs require
an agreement to avoid all products containing alcohol, including:
mouthwash, Nyquil, OTC medications, etc. Consumption of these products
could produce a positive test for alcohol and/or EtG and would thus
violate this agreement.
Where can I order a urine ETG
Please call us at 800-989-1206.