EtG Hair Test vs Breath Test for Alcohol Detection
05 September, 2022
EtG or ethyl glucuronide is a direct metabolite of ethanol and forms when an individual consumes alcohol. An EtG hair test can help detect alcohol use through hair samples. However, unlike alcohol breath tests using a breathalyser, EtG testing cannot measure the amount of alcohol in the system. It is an excellent testing method for monitoring alcohol abstinence. Moreover, alcohol testing ensures that an individual is not impaired during work. Alcohol impairment can cause serious safety hazards in the workplace. Therefore, companies opt to use alcohol breath testers as they can easily and quickly produce results compared to other testing methods.
EtG Hair Test for Workplace Testing
When an individual consumes alcohol or takes drugs, the body absorbs them through the blood. These substances enter the hair through the follicles and remain there as the hair grows. EtG hair tests are standard for legal testing purposes and child welfare because it has a more extended detection window than other testing methods. Moreover, a hair test provides a detection window of up to 90 days. Therefore, it is a suitable and practical testing method if you want to confirm an individual’s long-term use or pattern.
On the other hand, alcohol breath testing using breathalysers to determine current alcohol intoxication levels has several advantages. Breathalysers like the BACtrack from Breathalysers New Zealand can provide reliable and highly accurate BAC readings through an extensive selection of personal and workplace breathalysers. If you seek a more convenient and efficient way to detect alcohol consumption, breath testing is an excellent choice. Companies may use an EtG hair test to determine substance abuse, while a breathalyser can help monitor current impairment.
EtG Hair Test: What Can it Detect?
An EtG hair test for alcohol and drugs involves taking a hair sample to determine substance use. Companies usually do this type of testing method for workplace testing and rehabilitation centres to monitor abstinence. Hair testing detects various illicit substances, including cocaine, opioids, amphetamines, cannabis, and PCP. However, in most companies implementing alcohol testing, hair sampling is often only used for confirmatory tests. Hair testing takes a more extended processing period and costs more as you will need to avail of testing services from certified laboratories. Therefore, most companies get a breathalyser to conduct onsite workplace alcohol testing.
Furthermore, various testing methods and devices can detect alcohol like a breathalyser. However, an EtG hair test can trace alcohol use longer than other testing methods. Additionally, the following testing methods have various detection windows:
Alcohol Impairment at Work
Industries with high-risk environments like aviation, construction, transportation and mining implement zero-tolerance policies. Therefore, these industries opt to have onsite alcohol testing tools like breathalysers. These alcohol breath testers enable companies to determine whether employees are currently intoxicated. An EtG hair test is usually done as a confirmatory test when the initial screening is positive. In addition, breathalysers can accurately measure an individual’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) levels through exhaled breath. Nowadays, more companies are considering creating and implementing a workplace drug and alcohol testing policy to ensure workplace health and safety. Moreover, alcohol testing significantly reduces alcohol-related workplace accidents due to substance impairments.
Workplace alcohol consumption causes impairments and affects the individual’s ability to perform tasks. These impairments cause low productivity, increased absenteeism, and higher turnover rates for the company. Companies may use an EtG hair test to determine substance use affects an employee with low work output, following strict guidelines. However, despite being one of the most accurate ways to identify alcohol use over long periods, most companies seek a more convenient method like breath testing.
EtG Hair Test: Workplace Testing
Alcohol abuse is one of the significant issues any company faces. Consuming dangerous amounts of alcohol causes severe impairments and will likely endanger individuals and others around them. Therefore, many companies implement workplace alcohol and drug testing policies to ensure their employees are fit to work. For example, alcohol testing using breathalysers is reliable and convenient for onsite workplace testing. BACtrack devices from Breathalysers NZ can return BAC results within 10 to 15 seconds. Therefore, using breathalysers to determine alcohol use is more convenient than testing services from certified laboratories like an EtG hair test.
When do Workplaces Test for Alcohol?
Companies implementing drug and alcohol testing policies use various testing methods. For example, EtG hair tests are conducted when the testing requires a longer detection window. However, most companies seek reliable and efficient procedures like breath testing. Companies opt to use a breathalyser to test employees for alcohol use. A breathalyser like the BACtrack from Breathalysers New Zealand can detect alcohol for up to 24 hours after consumption. Thus, it can identify recent alcohol exposure. Furthermore, companies can conduct alcohol breath tests using breathalysers for the following situations:
- Pre-employment: companies include drug and alcohol testing as part of the hiring process. This testing policy ensures that all applicants do not have substance use problems that may put workplace safety at risk.
- Post-accident: management can test employees involved in a workplace accident to determine if alcohol impairment was the cause.
- Random testing: most companies opt to conduct random or unannounced testing to detect employees that consume alcohol during working hours. This test ensures that employees cannot cheat or abstain from alcohol since the test is random.
- Reasonable Suspicion: management can request to test an employee when they reasonably suspect that the individual is currently intoxicated or impaired.
There are various alternatives to an EtG hair test to detect alcohol use. The perfect example is breath testing using breathalysers. In addition, an alcohol breath tester captures a specific amount of deep lung air for analysis. Breathalysers like the BACtrack from Breathalysers NZ is a portable and compact electronic device utilising advanced fuel cell sensor technology to measure the amount of alcohol in the exhaled breath. Fuel cell sensor breathalysers only detect ethanol and do not react to other substances, which makes them less likely to produce false positives. Therefore, using breathalysers for alcohol testing is more convenient and cost-effective than EtG alcohol testing.
An EtG hair test is accurate and efficient for monitoring abstinence. It is practical for situations needing close monitoring of alcohol use, like rehabilitation centres and legal compliance. However, a breathalyser is more practical and convenient for workplace testing. A breath test is a quick and non-invasive method of determining an individual’s BAC level or sobriety. Anyone can operate and conduct alcohol testing using a breathalyser without needing certified personnel to administer the test. Therefore, it helps many companies save costs from expensive labotatory services. Breathalysers New Zealand offers workplace breathalysers suitable for high-volume testing for various workplace needs.