Ethyl glucuronide in hair - A highly effective test for the monitoring of alcohol consumption

Forensic Sci Int. 2012 May 10;218(1-3):10-4. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2011.10.007. Epub 2011 Oct 22.


In Germany drink driving offenders lose their license and must prove abstinence for one year in order to regain it. In this paper we assess the newly introduced ethyl glucuronide (EtG) tests in urine and hair in this alcohol abstinence monitoring. 20% (80 out of 386) of the 3cm long hair samples were tested positive for EtG in hair, compared to only 2% (92 out of 4248 samples) in urine in the same time period. Additionally 50% of the samples positive for EtG in hair had EtG values greater than 30pg/mg hair, indicating chronic alcohol consumption in the last three months. This study shows that four EtG tests in 3cm hair lengths reveal a significantly higher percentage of drink driving offenders who fail to be sober in the rehabilitation period, than do six random EtG tests in urine. Presumably, the hair test is more adequate to monitor long term alcohol abstinence than the urine test as defined by the new driving license re-granting medical and psychological assessment (MPA) in Germany.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Automobile Driving / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Forensic Toxicology / methods
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Germany
  • Glucuronates / analysis*
  • Hair / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Licensure / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Limit of Detection
  • Linear Models
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods


  • Biomarkers
  • Glucuronates
  • ethyl glucuronide