BAT vs. ETG Alcohol Testing



In the world of drug testing, most often forget that alcohol testing is used across the board for a number of industries but most importantly the driving industry. But what is the difference between the different types of alcohol tests? And who is actively alcohol testing when anyone over 21 years of age can legally have a drink? (In the US, of course.)


What is BAT?

“BAT,” or “breath alcohol testing,” is a measurement of the amount of alcohol in a person’s system. This is most commonly measured through a breathalyzer, which will detect only the alcohol level currently in the system and not that of days prior. This is especially useful for random and reasonable suspicion drug testing when, let’s say, an airline would like to test a pilot before take off, or a trucking company would like to test their drivers before a long driving job, and of course for a police officer when determining whether someone is driving under the influence. The results are almost instant after the suspected person blows into the device and must be administered by a certified testing professional.


What about ETG?

Now the ETG Alcohol test can be administered through a urine sample or hair testing. This test is more common for alcohol rehabilitation programs because of the extensive look back it can offer. The ETG Urine test can look back 80 hours into the donor’s system, and the hair can look back 90 days. This test is also more costly, with the ETG hair test running $400.00.  This test is also popular for people on probation and in child custody legal battles. The ETG Alcohol test tests for a direct metabolite of alcohol (ethanol) which will still be present in urine and hair after consumption. The downside about this test is that it can test positive for extremely low traces of liquor or often have false positive tests after exposure to alcohol from non-beverage sources.


American Drug Testing can help you decide which test is right for you or your company. Whether it be for pre employment, random testing or reasonable suspicion. The only problem with alcohol testing we advise is to implement and scrutinize drug testing in the workplace more often since you don’t want to lose employees over too much testing for alcohol.


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