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USDTL Research

Blood Phosphatidylethanol (PEth) Concentrations following Intensive Use of an Alcohol-based Hand Sanitizer

Gary M. ReisfieldScott A. TeitelbaumJoseph T. JonesDana MasonMax BleiweisBen Lewis

First published: 8 November 2021


Alcohol use disorders are prevalent in the USA and throughout the world. Monitoring for alcohol abstinence is useful in several clinical and forensic contexts. The direct alcohol biomarkers have the requisite sensitivity and specificity for abstinence monitoring. The relatively new direct biomarker phosphatidylethanol (PEth), measured in blood, is gaining increasing acceptance in monitoring abstinence from beverage alcohol consumption, but there remains little research addressing the potential for PEth formation consequent to incidental alcohol exposures. In the midst of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, high-alcohol content hand sanitizer is a particularly important source of nonbeverage alcohol exposure. To assess the extent of alcohol absorption and subsequent formation of blood PEth related to intensive use of high alcohol content hand sanitizer, we recruited 15 participants to use a 70% ethyl alcohol-based hand sanitizer 24–100 times daily, for 12–13 consecutive days. Blood was analyzed for PEth 16:0/18:1 by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Our hypothesis that blood PEth concentrations would fail to reach a 20 ng/mL threshold was confirmed. This work adds to the nascent literature on the effects of incidental alcohol exposures on blood PEth formation.

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Published by: United States Drug Testing Laboratories on

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