Conference Proceedings and Papers

Proceedings of all the major conference have been published amounting to thousands of pages of materials which provide a history of the development of research and policy over the past five decades in alcohol, drugs and traffic safety. After many years of work and effort by both current and previous ICADTS Executive Board members, the Council is delighted to make available all available conference papers in electronic form.


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Search results for: 21st_T2016_Gramado
Paper Title
Level of EtG in hair does not necessarily reflect the growth period of the sample segment
Jan Toralf Fosen, Asle Enger, Luca Morini, Jørg Mørland, Gudrun Høiseth
Year Published
ethanol, EtG, hair
Description / summary


Aim: Hair levels of ethyl glucuronide (EtG) are often used in cases where driving qualifications are evaluated. For the diagnosis of heavy drinking (above 60 grams per day), a cut-off at 30 pg/mg EtG in hair is used, and the 3 proximal cm of the hair sample is most often analyzed. This is assumed to represent the intake of ethanol over the past 3 months, as a mean growth rate of 1 cm per month is expected in head hair. The aim of this study was to evaluate how alcohol abstinence before sample collection affects hair EtG levels in patients with chronic alcohol abuse. Methods: Data from 12 patients (heavy drinkers) were recruited from an alcohol detoxification clinic. A hair sample was collected after hospitalization and EtG was analyzed in the 0-3 cm hair segment (T1). Another hair sample was collected 30 days after inclusion and was analyzed for 1-4 cm hair segment (T2). The patients had been abstinent from alcohol during the time period between T1 and T2. As a result of the segment choice, T2 should represent the same time of alcohol exposure as segment T1. Results: The median concentration of EtG at T1 was 51.0 pg/mg (range 7.7-265) and the median concentration at T2 was 12.0 pg/mg (range LOQ-156.9). There was a significant decrease in concentration of EtG from T1 to T2 (p=0.011). Of the 12 patients, 10 showed decreased concentrations from T1 to T2, and in 6 of these, the value at T2 was below LOQ. In the two remaining cases, the values were stable between T1 and T2 (within analytical variation). Conclusion: These preliminary results indicate that concentrations of EtG in hair are considerably influenced by a period of abstinence before sampling, even if the same hair segment is analyzed. A possible explanation may be EtG elimination from the matrix (e.g. after frequent hair washing), and that the levels of hair EtG is influenced by other factors (e.g. EtG from sweat and sebum) and not only from EtG incorporation in the hair root. The fact that EtG is poorly incorporated in hair strengthens this theory.