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    Can I fail an EtG because of Listerine?

    Asked Mar 16, 2012, 01:18 PM 5 Answers
    Okay I am doing a diversion class for a DUI and I'm one of the people who actually hasn't drunk any alcohol during this diversion. It has been two weeks since I had a UA and my results haven't came in yet. My counselor said positive UA's for ETG take longer so he was suspicious that I had been drinking. He said he also could have stashed my results somewhere because they came in early too but it worries me because I haven't had any booze and have been careful what I put into my body. I did however realize I shampooed with Listerine 5-6 days before my UA because I heard it can get rid of a greasy scalp not even thinking about an alcohol test. Do you think I would fail the test because of this one time Listerine on my hair?

    Last edited by Wondergirl; Mar 16, 2012 at 02:09 PM.
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    DrBill100's Avatar
    DrBill100 Posts: 3,241, Reputation: 500
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    #2

    Mar 16, 2012, 02:02 PM
    Alcohol can enter your system via the sweat and sebaceous glands in the scalp, or any dermal exposure for that matter. Listerine also contains about twice as much alcohol, by volume, as wine.

    However, let's assume that the exposure did result in EtG synthesis even though it probably didn't. 1) The amount of EtG created would be very minimal and probably below the level of detection (LOD) even a few hours after use, and 2) even if it peaked above the LOD that would have occurred about 4-5 hours after use and then dropped below LOD within a couple of hours.

    EtG does not remain in your system. It follows a standard elimination curve (see USDTL below).

    There are no studies involving the use of Listerine on hair although many hair care products do contain significant amounts of ethanol. Regular use of these products have resulted in positive Hair Alcohol Tests (HAT) but even in those cases there was no record of a concurrent positive UA.

    So I feel confident in stating that given the time span involved you will not test positive by UA.

    USDTL Monograph

    NOTICE: Any person or entity that is subjected to or relies on EtG testing should read this Advisory issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services, September 2006 and remains in effect as of date of this posting. Copy available here > US DHHS Advisory
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    freethegoats's Avatar
    freethegoats Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
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    #3

    Mar 16, 2012, 05:15 PM
    Thank you for the information. I never had to worry in this class until this issue came up and I've never had a positive UA. Would prescription eye drops cause a failed ETG? What about products like lotion where a listed ingredient is "alcohol denat." After I became paranoid I began looking at all of my products and even my roommates products and there all seem to contain some form of alcohol.
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    DrBill100's Avatar
    DrBill100 Posts: 3,241, Reputation: 500
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    #4

    Mar 16, 2012, 05:59 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by freethegoats View Post
    Thank you for the information. I never had to worry in this class until this issue came up and I've never had a positive UA. Would prescription eye drops cause a failed ETG? What about products like lotion where a listed ingredient is "alcohol denat." After I became paranoid I began looking at all of my products and even my roommates products and there all seem to contain some form of alcohol.
    Never considered eye drops but my first guess is they would not due to composition of vitreous fluid. That is very interesting however as vitreous is regularly used in postmortem exams to determine level of pre-mortem intoxication and could be influenced by use of eye drops. Thank you for that question.

    Now on to the more relevant considerations. Many products that you use daily contain alcohol. Denatured alcohol is the most concentrated form. It seems that EtG results from the inhalation of fumes from products such as skin lotions, skin cleansers, hand sanitizing, shampoos, etc. more than from the transdermal affect. There are numerous studies that point to this possibility dating to 2004. (1, 2)

    So that pleasant smell from the application is an alert that you are creating EtG which, in turn, can be interpreted as slugging down a few drinks. You are not paranoid. Rather well advised to make such considerations.

    1) Rosano & Lin (2008)

    2) Skipper, et al (unpublished)
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    freethegoats's Avatar
    freethegoats Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
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    #5

    Mar 16, 2012, 06:23 PM
    All right thanks again for the insight and information. There isn't much I can do about it now so I will try not to stress. I just know if it comes back positive he will question my integrity and honesty and it will be nearly impossible to convince him otherwise.
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    addicts_mom's Avatar
    addicts_mom Posts: 6, Reputation: 2
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    #6

    Mar 20, 2012, 09:09 AM
    You can also be honest with the counselor. Show him the eye drops you use and the lotions you use. Be honest - tell him you've never looked at labels before and didn't know alcohol was in somemany things. Be proactive with him and not wait to get your results - then it just looks like you're making excuses for your positive results.
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