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Ethyl glucuronide (EtG) is a minor, non-oxidative ethanol metabolite that can be detected in several matrices (e.g. blood, urine, hair, meconium) for variable periods of time. Quantification of EtG in hair (hEtG) has established itself, over recent years, as one of the most reliable biomarkers of long-term alcohol consumption habits, with the Society of Hair Testing (SoHT) offering cut-off values for assessment of both abstinence and heavy drinking (>60 g/day). Despite its high diagnostic performance, however, issues concerning inter- and intra-laboratory variability as well as data interpretation are still being investigated and represent the ultimate barrier to widespread acceptance of hEtG in the forensic context. The aim of this review is to summarize currently available analytical methods of hEtG testing, provide a framework to understand current hEtG cut-offs and their possible upcoming changes (in particular, a lower abstinence cut-off has been proposed for the 2019 revision of the SoHT consensus), and offer a schematic but exhaustive overview of the pitfalls in result reproducibility and interpretation that may limit applications of hEtG testing in the forensic context. Ultimately, the purpose of the authors is not to undermine the reliability of hEtG as an alcohol use marker, but rather to enhance it by promoting familiarization with all aspects related to it, from ethanol pharmacokinetics and EtG incorporation into hair, to sample preparation and analytical methods, to specific cases warranting close attention and additional tests for correct interpretation of hEtG results.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Forensic science international
This work aimed to assess the performance of hair and fingernail ethyl glucuronide (EtG) measurement for use as a biomarker of alcohol consumption in persons with known drinking history across a range...
Body mass index (BMI) is a variable that complicates the interpretation of the alcohol metabolite ethyl glucuronide (EtG) in hair. However, direction on how EtG should currently be interpreted within ...
This study aimed to assess alcohol consumption in a university student population though the combined analysis of the alcohol biomarkers ethyl glucuronide (EtG) and fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEEs) in ...
The assessment of alcohol consumption behavior in hair is well established in forensic toxicology. The Society of Hair Testing (SoHT) recommends the direct alcohol markers ethyl glucuronide (EtG) and ...
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Organic compounds having ethyl groups bound to an oxygen atom
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