Background image

What is Ethyl Glucuronide (EtG)?

Showing: alcohol use


What is Ethyl Glucuronide (EtG)?

posted by

What is Ethyl Glucuronide (EtG)?


Binge Drinking Among Women in The News

posted by

Last week the CDC released a study that concluded: “Binge drinking is reported by one in eight U.S. adult women and one in five high school girls. Women who binge drink tend to do so frequently and with high intensity. Most high school girls who reported current alcohol use also reported binge drinking.”

This growing trend in “keeping up with the boys” can have long term public health implications. 

CDC: “Implications for Public Health Practice: More widespread implementation of evidence-based interventions, such as those recommended by the Guide to Community Preventive Services and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, would be expected to reduce the frequency and intensity, and ultimately the prevalence of binge drinking among women and girls, and the harms related to it. “

Phosphatidylethanol (PEth)* is an alcohol biomarker (an evidence based marker) that can detect the difference between binge drinking and steady state use without worry of adulteration, bias, or incidental exposure for as far back as three weeks. The chart below shows the ability to detect drinking behaviors.

Go to to learn more about our BloodSpot™ assay, PEth and other long term alcohol biomarkers.


Ask the Toxicologist – What do the following results really mean?

Client Question: 


Our program has been monitoring drivers with three or more convictions for DUI using a combination of USDTL BloodSpot™ PEth and EtG in USDTL NailStat®.
One of our participants reports abstinence, but his test results suggest otherwise and can be seen in the chart below.

What do these numbers mean?

EtG Nail Level
PEth Level
Days in Program
160 pg/mg
362 ng/ml
31 pg/mg
0 ng/ml
199 pg/mg
39 ng/ml
63 pg/mg
33 ng/ml


USDTL Toxicologist Answer:

The detection time window for EtG in fingernail is approximately 3 months and the detection time window for PEth in blood spot is approximately 3 weeks.  Neither test will pick up incidental ingestion or social drinking, only binge and heavy drinking.  The baseline figures are elevated as expected from a participant that has been recently convicted of driving while impaired.  It would be expected that this individual had engaged in binge and heavy drinking over the past several weeks and months prior to entering the program.  The EtG and PEth results are consistent with this expectation.

From the time of the baseline test to the second test (11 weeks), the EtG nail levels fell from 160 pg/mg to 31 pg/mg and the PETh dropped from 362 ng/mL to negative.  The best explanation for this observation is that the donor has significantly reduced their drinking and were perhaps abstinent during this period.  The EtG detected in the nail was most likely left over from drinking prior to joining the program.

However, in 18 weeks and 24 weeks after baseline testing  the EtG in fingernail and PEth in blood spot were detected again and reflected new binge and heavy drinking after the second test and after the third test.  There were 5 weeks between the third and fourth test, if the donor had been abstinent after the third test, the PETh would have been negative.  These tests show that the donor relapsed to a steady behavior of binge and heavy drinking after the second test.

At United States Drug Testing Laboratories, Inc., one of our goals is to keep you up-to-date on news in alcohol and substances of abuse testing. Throughout the year we will be gathering information and posting it here. Tuesdays will be for adult/teen alcohol and substance of abuse testing.

To begin, we are excited about a recent paper on phosphatidylethanol testing. Following is a link to the abstract:

In other news:

Grundy County, IL bans synthetic drugs:

Drug Free Homes has a new program that has successfully reduced teen drug use in African American populations:

Teen marijuana use on the rise nationally, binge drinking also a local concern:

Keep an eye on the blog as Thursdays we will present news you can use for newborn health.