Alcohol Testing: The Ultimate Guide to EtG Testing
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Drinking in America is on the rise. According to a survey conducted by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in 2014, a whopping 87.6% of Americans over the age of 17 had drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime; 24.7% of adults reported binge drinking during the past month while 6.7% had engaged in heavy drinking during the previous month. Moreover, alcohol is by far the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States, with approximately one in every 12 adults abusing – or addicted to – alcohol.
Alcohol abuse is one of the major causes of issues that affect the public at large; from minor issues such as increased costs and reduced productivity, to extremely grave consequences including loss of life. 1½ ounces of liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer increase the BAC (blood alcohol content) of a healthy 150-pound male by 0.02%, and their body can stay under the influence for up to one hour. For women, their bodies tend to experience intoxication for slightly longer periods. Drinking coffee, doing exercise, and taking cold showers may help to stay awake but it does not impact the BAC. The only way to bring the body’s BAC down is to not drink.
The common alcohol testing methods are:
- Blood tests – which can detect alcohol use within the past 24 hours. This is conducted in a laboratory by qualified professionals
- Saliva tests – which can detect the presence of alcohol in the saliva for approximately 10 to 24 hours
- Breath alcohol tests – which measure the amount of alcohol in the body via a breathalyzer device
Below we’ll review the tests which are considered to be the best in each category (blood, saliva, digital), ranked by our trained, paid staff.
Table of Contents
Reliable Brands Of Alcohol Testing Kits
Reliable alcohol testing kits include:
- DrugConfirm Advanced EtG alcohol test
- EtG Alcohol Urine Test Dip Card
- QED A150 Saliva Alcohol Test
- SalivaConfirm Premium
- BACTrack Mobile Digital Alcohol Detector
- AlcoHAWK Precision Digital Alcohol Detector
The Best Alcohol Testing Kits Reviewed
A blood test for alcohol must be carried out in a sophisticated facility, by a qualified professional; all the other tests can be administered anywhere and by anyone who has access to a testing kit. Here are some of the best kits for performing the saliva, breath, and urine tests:
Alcohol Urine Test Kits
12-Panel Instant Urine Drug Test Cup with EtG Detection
Price: $9.99 per unit (discount available on multiple units)
The DrugConfirm Advanced is the only cup that works for EtG and can detect alcohol usage up to 80 hours before the test. Being a 12-panel test, it can test eleven other classes of drugs in addition to alcohol. These drugs include Amphetamine, Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines, Buprenorphine, Cocaine, Methadone, Methamphetamine, Ecstasy/Molly, Opiates, Oxycodone, and Marijuana.
What are the advantages of EtG testing?
- Accurate results
- Longer detection window than standard testing
- No false positive in cases of fermentation
- Works on urine specimens to detect other drugs aside from alcohol
- Ideal for “zero tolerance” testing scenarios
The best thing about the DrugConfirm Advanced EtG alcohol test is that it’s a fully integrated test and offers professional quality, extremely accurate results in a matter of a few minutes, and most anyone can administer the without extensive knowledge or experience.
EtG Alcohol Urine Test Dip Card (80 Hour Detection Window)
Price: $8.15 per unit (discount available on multiple units)
With a detection window of up to 80 hours, the EtG Alcohol Urine Test Dip Card kit offers laboratory-level accuracy in a short amount of time. The test is extremely easy to administer and yet the results are claimed to be as good as one would get from a lab.
The EtG Alcohol Test Dip Card is ideal for probation or police offices to test the individuals who are ordered by the justice system to abstain from alcohol, abuse treatment facilities, and organizations/workplaces with alcohol-free environment policy.
Saliva Alcohol Testing Kits
QED A150 Saliva Alcohol Test
Price: $6.45 per unit (discount available on multiple units)
QED A150 Saliva Alcohol test is one of the very best kits to test alcohol use and has also been approved by the DOT as well as the FDA. The test is extremely easy to use and the results are available in just two minutes. The best thing about QED is that it’s one of the very few tests to offer quantitative results, just like a blood test, and yet is extremely affordable and easy to perform. To administer the test, an individual should insert the swab into the mouth to collect saliva, and then pressing the saliva-enriched swab into the red center, which is included in the kit. It looks and works like a thermometer, and indicates the level of alcohol in the body.
SalivaConfirm Premium – 7 Panel Instant Oral Cube Drug + Alcohol Test Kit
Price: $12.95 per unit (discount available on multiple units)
SalivaConfirm is an instant test, ideal for use by law enforcement agencies, and can detect alcohol as well as six other drugs: Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, Cocaine, Opiates, Marijuana, and Phencyclidine. The test can be administered instantly, anywhere and the results are available in just three minutes. Since the saliva test is very hard to beat and the kit is well-designed, a one can expect to get extremely accurate results. The donor must keep the sponge in their mouth for three minutes, and then it should be placed immediately into the collection cube. The results can be read immediately after one inserts the sponge into the cube. Note that the cube should be in an upright position while reading the results.
Digital Alcohol Breathalyzers
BACTrack Mobile Digital Alcohol Detector – iOS/Android Compatible
Price: $149.99 per unit (discount available on multiple units)
This particular breathalyzer is based on cutting-edge technology to offer added convenience and extremely accurate results. It’s a cool gadget that can be connected to the smartphone (compatible with both iOS and Android devices) via Bluetooth. What’s more, it has the industry-best Xtend Fuel Cell Sensor, that’s used in all the professional breathalyzers used by law enforcement as well as hospitals.
An individual must download the free BACTrack app on the phone from the App Store, pair the phone with the BACTrack breathalyzer, and then the donor can blow into the device. The device will instantly send the readings to the mobile device, where the quantified BAC level will pop up. What we really loved about this breathalyzer is that it not only detects alcohol in breath but also shows the dose-specific side effects or impairment level depending on the BAC. Moreover, it also estimates how badly the alcohol might be affecting the ability to drive and how long it will take for the blood level to return to normal.
Additionally, the app stores the data about different indicators and can give the donor a clear picture of their drinking habits in the form of a graphical representation. BACTrack is the first company to be approved by FDA for selling personal breathalyzers.
AlcoHAWK Precision Digital Alcohol Detector
Price: $89.99 per unit (discount available on multiple units)
AlcoHAWK is another DOT and FDA approved breath screening gadget that comes with the latest sensitive semiconductor oxide sensor to offer accurate readings in a matter of seconds. This particular breathalyzer is an elegant gadget that has a 4-digit LED display and comes with five replaceable mouthpiece covers. It’s one-button, user-friendly operation and accurate, instant digital reading have helped it become one of the bestselling breathalyzers on the market. The donor must blow into the gadget for five seconds and the device will take another three seconds to display the results. The battery included can perform approximately 300 tests and the technology used ensures extremely accurate results.
To get accurate results, be sure to read all instructions before using any kit.
Alcohol Testing Overview
EtG testing has recently emerged as the most desired form of alcohol testing. EtG stands for Ethyl Glucuronide or simply ethanol, which is the intoxicating ingredient found in beer, wine, and liquor. EtG is produced when yeast, starches, and sugars are fermented. Upon entering the body, ethanol can severely impact decision making depending on the amount taken, the time since a person last drank, and their body weight. EtG is a urine testing process that tries to detect the presence of ethanol, which is a definitive indicator that body has metabolized alcohol within the past three or four days. When EtG testing is used, alcohol can be detected in urine up to 80 hours after the last consumption of alcohol.
EtG is administered to detect whether a person is consuming alcohol or not by using an immunoassay screen with Liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC/MS) confirmation of any positives that might be a sign of alcohol use. Most labs will do a confirmatory testing in conjunction with EtG testing to eliminate the possibility of a fake positive. Although it’s becoming quickly popular because of the longer detection window and accuracy, EtG doesn’t show the exact amount of alcohol consumed.
Alcohol Testing F.A.Q.
EtG has emerged as the test of choice for alcohol because of several benefits it offers over other options
- It’s more accurate than standard testing.
- Has a considerably longer detection window than standard testing i.e. can detect alcohol use up to 80 hours. In other words, it can detect ethanol even after other tests will fail to do so.
- The biggest benefit of EtG testing is that it doesn’t give false positive in case of fermentation, and only gives a positive result when alcohol was consumed.
- It can be used on a urine specimen to test abuse of other drugs in addition to alcohol.
- It is ideal in scenarios of zero tolerance, such as when ordered by the justice system.
When Alcohol Testing is Required
Alcohol testing can be required where someone is suspected of having consumed alcohol under circumstances where the use is prohibited. The most common scenario of testing is when drivers are asked to immediately be tested after a police officer believes there is reasonable suspicion of driving under the influence. Pre-employment testing is also very common at workplaces that ensure a drug-free environment. Also, employees who have recently returned to work after vacation may be tested. Post-accident testing is done to find out whether any of the drivers involved in a car accident was driving under the influence.
Other Types of Alcohol Testing
In addition to EtG, several other testing methods are also available to find out whether a person has used alcohol or not.
Blood Test for Alcohol
A blood test can detect alcohol use within the past 24 hours. The best thing about a blood test is that it can also measure the amount of ethanol in the system. Just like nicotine, alcohol is also absorbed by the bloodstream. Although it reaches the highest level after one hour of drinking, it is detectable via a blood test within minutes of consumption. Blood tests for alcohol are performed by qualified health professional, in a laboratory with specialized equipment.
Saliva Test for Alcohol
Saliva drug tests are very easy to administer and less invasive than the blood or hair follicle test. Moreover, the saliva test can detect both the drug and its metabolites. Collecting saliva is very easy. A cotton swab is usually placed inside the cheek, which can be used to detect the concentration of alcohol in saliva, similar to how BAC can be detected in the blood. Because alcohol and its metabolites don’t stay in saliva for as long as they do in blood or urine, saliva has a short detection window. However, it offers a fast and straightforward method for detecting recent use. Alcohol can be detected in saliva for approximately 10 to 24 hours.
Breath Alcohol Test
A breath alcohol test detects the level of alcohol in blood by determining the amount of alcohol in the breath. The device used for estimating blood alcohol content by breath is known as a breathalyzer. Although it’s also the name of a brand, the term is generically used to refer to any device for estimating BAC through the breath.
The donor blows directly into the breath analyzer, which instead of measuring BAC in blood, estimates BAC indirectly by measuring the amount of alcohol in the breath. 90% of alcohol is broken down by the liver, while the rest is blown out through breath or secreted with urine.
Methods and Best Tests Reviewed:
Testing for the Specific Substances:
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