The EtG test is a biomarker test that detects the presence of ethyl glucuronide in urine samples. Usually, it is used to monitor alcohol consumption in individuals who are legally prohibited from drinking alcohol by the justice system or restricted from drinking by their employers. (Source) The EtG urine alcohol test has come under criticism because it is so sensitive that “it can give positive results for merely coming in contact with common household products that contain alcohol, such as aftershave and mouthwash.” The Role of Biomarkers in the Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorders (PDF), September 2006, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration issued an advisory in 2006 that the EtG test should not be used as the sole basis for taking any legal action against someone who has a positive result, cautioning that the test is “scientifically unsupportable as the sole basis for legal or disciplinary action” because the highly-sensitive tests “are not able to distinguish between alcohol absorbed into the body from exposure to many common commercial and household products containing alcohol or from the actual consumption of alcohol.” Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. The Role of Biomarkers in the Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorders. Substance Abuse Treatment Advisory. Volume 5, Issue 4, 2006
Worse yet is the duration of sensitivity. The biomarker test detects ethyl glucuronide in urine samples and can detect alcohol several days after the last drink. The EtG test came under scrutiny when a significant number of people, who insisted they had abstained from drinking alcohol, failed the test. SAMHSA used many of those protested cases to research the accuracy of the EtG test and determine the cause of the false positives. The manufacturer of the test, Redwoood Toxicology Laboratory, is facing at least one lawsuit claiming its test is “inherently faulty.” The lawsuit claims that Redwood does not inform its customers — law enforcement, probation offices, and employers — that the test will return positive results for coming in contact with household products that contain alcohol.
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