When you go out drinking, your hair is silently keeping track of your alcohol consumption. Like an app that is always on, your body automatically deposits the remnants of your drinks into your hair follicles, and there they stay for 90 days. These byproducts of the body’s metabolization of alcohol are called EtG. A hair alcohol test can detect this EtG; thus, this test reveals average alcohol consumption over the prior three months.
Common misconceptions about hair alcohol testing
Misconception #1: A lot of people ask if a hair test can show when the alcohol use occurred. The answer is no. The results report just shows an average EtG level, as opposed to a graph that indicates dates or levels of use on any given date.
Misconception #2: Many people think that a single drink in the 90 day period will result in a positive result. That is not true. Because EtG is a “metabolite” of the body’s processing of the alcohol, and is sometimes present in small amounts even without alcohol consumption, all professional lab tests use a “cut-off level”. By having a cut-off, this eliminates incidental exposure or bodily production of EtG. In other words, it is the way in which the laboratory avoids the risk of false positives. As a consequence, it also means that a drink or two will not trigger a positive result, since it almost definitely will generate enough EtG in the hair to be above the cut-off level.
Misconception #3: Clients often ask if hair alcohol testing can determine if someone is currently under the influence. The answer is no. In fact, the EtG doesn’t get into the hair for about 5 days. So, there is no chance that cops will soon be standing on the side of the road with a pair of scissors, ready to cut the hair of drivers who they suspect of being under the influence.
What other types of alcohol testing are available?
The test you choose should be based on your circumstances.
- If you suspect current intoxication, choose from our breath alcohol tests.
- If you suspect consumption in the prior 3 days, choose from our urine alcohol tests.
- And if you need to check if someone has been drinking regularly over the past 90 days, then the hair alcohol test is right for you.
If you have any questions, our customer service is team is ready to help, 7 days a week. 888-378-2499.