The test is very sensitive. It can even pick up small amounts of alcohol found in many household and personal hygiene products such as hand sanitisers, cosmetics, laundry products and antiperspirants.
An EtG alcohol test is a reliable and accurate method of detecting alcohol consumption, because it is not subject to fermentation, adulteration, or cross-reactivity.
EtG is a natural by-product of alcohol metabolism. Everybody metabolizes alcohol at a different rate and the amount of EtG produced from exposure to alcohol can vary by as much as 200%.
EtG can be found in the system for up to 80 hours and can be present after just one drink. Being a direct metabolite of ethanol, EtG remains in the body even when the ethanol is completely metabolized.
EtG was described in the early 1950s, but has only been used as an alcohol marker since 2001. The Swiss doctor Fredrich Wurst and American doctor Gregory Skipper demonstrated that an EtG alcohol test was a more reliable and sensitive indicator of both drinking and abstinence than urine alcohol.
Alcohol abuse is highly associated with other substance abuse and with problematic behaviour including physical assault, dangerous driving, sexual assault and other criminal acts. EtG testing results in greatly reduced rates of substance abuse. Initial tests detect signs of drinking in 50% of participants, falling to 5% in those tested regularly.