Definition - What does Urine Alcohol (Ethanol vs. EtG) mean?
Urine alcohol (ethanol vs. EtG) refers to two distinct alcohol compounds used quantitatively to determine recent ingestion of alcohol found in urine specimens by assessing residual metabolites in the body. While urine drug screens generally test for the presence of ethanol analytes, ethyl glucuronide (EtG) serves as an enzymatic catalyst when undergoing metabolic decomposition in the system with longer detection windows than its ethanol counterpart.
SureHire explains Urine Alcohol (Ethanol vs. EtG)
Alcohol testing serves as a benchmark for measuring relative urine alcohol levels to determine if they exceed the acceptable limit, using ethanol and EtG metabolites as indexes for establishing the cumulative proportion of alcohol in the system. A urine specimen is often subject to auxiliary testing parameters incorporating the use of sophisticated equipment via gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) pending final test results. With EtG testing making advancements, it is beneficial over ethanol testing given its comparatively higher retention percentage of metabolites.
Employers must advance a zero-tolerance policy, drawing on ethanol or EtG testing methods as a buffer to level any potential discrepancies in preserving a climate of workplace safety against recognition of human privacy rights laws.
The cost-to-benefits ratio between choosing ethanol testing and EtG testing stems from the industry type and regulatory practices necessary to effectively mediate control where alcohol-related cases pose legitimate hazards, in particular, holding a safety-sensitive position. To that end, the advantage of EtG testing is it can better isolate metabolites with similar biochemical properties where false positives can ensue; for example, the presence of elevated glucose levels can purportedly suggest ethanol ingestion. Since alcohol dependency falls under a disability, this approach can help temper the difference between the negating evidence that points respectively to individuals with diabetes or whether alcohol plays a factor in test finding deviations.