What Does Hair Alcohol Testing Consist Of?

Measurement of markers to identify long-term alcohol consumption is generally used to corroborate claims of alcohol abstinence and for the assessment of chronic excessive alcohol consumption (for clinical and forensic purposes).

The Hair Alcohol Testing measures two biomarkers, Ethyl Palmitate (EtPa) and Ethyl Glucuronide (EtG), indicated by a consensus of the Society of Hair Testing (SoHT). Both markers are by-products produced by the body when alcohol is ingested. When both markers are tested in combination, more accurate results are obtained to determine alcohol consumption.

The results of the Hair Alcohol Testing are guaranteed by an ISO 17025 UKAS Accredited Testing Laboratory, the analyses are performed according to the international standards of the SoHT and can be used for clinical, forensic, or legal purposes.

To obtain a more complete picture of a person’s alcohol drinking situation, it is recommended that in addition to Hair Alcohol Testing (EtPa and EtG), other studies such as blood alcohol level tests, history of alcohol abuse and clinical evaluations are also performed.

Sample Collection for Hair Alcohol Testing

To perform Hair Alcohol Testing a hair sample is needed. It is recommended to take a hair sample of 3cm to 6 cm in length. This is important as hair can be used to detect the presence of alcohol in the body for months and grows approximately 1 cm per month. Therefore, a 3 cm sample allows a retrospective analysis of 3 months. This test can offer an alcohol screening analysis of up to 6 months.

If the head hair sample is less than 3cm, only EtG levels can be analysed.

Ideally, hair from the head should be used, but if this is not possible, either because there is no hair on the head or because the hair is very short (less than 1 cm), hair from the arms, legs and chest can also be used. If hair from other body sites is used it is only possible to perform EtG analysis.

Hair sampling involves cutting as close to the root as possible approximately 200 hairs, this will leave a bald patch. Where to take the hair sample from will depend on the requirements of the test, usually it is the back of the head in line with the top of the ears, but the sample collector will always discuss the best location with the sample donor.

Legally Defensible Results – The Process

For legally defensible results, the samples need to be collected under strict chain of custody procedures by an independent third-party collector. You can make an appointment to have your sample taken by one of our qualified sample collectors at a convenient location near you.

When it is not possible to collect a hair sample, either for religious reasons, aesthetic concerns or because the person has no hair, Nail Alcohol Testing is recommended.

The legal version of the test will require a Statement of Witness expert report which is additional to the standard testing fee. This enhanced report will include details on the type of analysis performed, information on the chain of custody collection process, and qualifications of the reporting scientists.

To order Hair Alcohol Testing, contact us for a quote. We will offer you a quote according to your requirements.

What Can Affect the Results of a Hair Alcohol Testing?

There are external factors that can affect the biomarkers detected in the hair sample during Hair Alcohol Testing.

Hair treatments such as dyeing, perming, straightening, bleaching and also excessive washing can reduce EtG levels in the hair. This happens because EtG is water-soluble, produced by the liver and reaches the hair through sweat.

On the other hand, hair products containing alcohol, such as gel, hairspray and wax can increase EtPa levels found in the hair. This is because EtPa is oil-soluble, is produced in the blood and reaches the hair through sebum. It is recommended that products containing alcohol are not used on the hair for one month before the test.

As explained above, it is important that information about treatments and products used on the hair recently is considered when preparing the results. This information must be provided by the sample donor to the sample collector.

Other Drug Tests Available

If you need to determine a person’s level of alcohol or drug consumption for forensic or medical purposes, EasyDNA offers several tests that can help you, in addition to the Hair Alcohol Testing, there is also the Hair Drug Testing, Nail Alcohol Testing and Nail Drug Testing.

If you have any questions about the Hair Alcohol Testing, please do not hesitate to Contact our Customer Service Team who will be happy to help you.


Hair Drug Testing
Nail Alcohol Testing