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How Does an Alcohol Urine Test Work?

written by: Lashan Clarke•edited by: Emma Lloyd•updated: 7/13/2010

As there is an increase in urine alcohol testing programs, the employee might be interested in knowing more about test. One question that is commonly asked is, “How does an alcohol urine test work?"

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    Drug-Testing Programs

    Sometimes certain people might be asked by his or her employer to produce a urine sample to be tested for alcohol use. This might be in occupations where concentration is important, or where excessive alcohol use, for example, during driving is against the law. The urine will be collected during a drug-testing program established by the employer. Someone might be asked to give a urine sample if the police stops them, and arrested for suspected drunk driving.

    As there is an increase in urine alcohol testing programs, the employee might be interested in knowing more about test. One question that is commonly asked is, “How does an alcohol urine test work?" The urine alcohol test is chosen because it is easier for someone to give a sample of urine as compared to a sample of blood.

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    Comparing the Blood Alcohol Test To The Urine Alcohol Test

    An alcohol urine test work measures the level of alcohol metabolites in urine, which measures how much alcohol a person has consumed in the last 48 hours. The test will measure the level of ethylene glycol, which is a by-product of the breakdown of ethanol alcohol by the liver. Even though the level of alcohol can be measured approximately two days after consumption, the level of ethylene glucuronide can be detected in the urine approximately four days after consuming alcohol.

    Another way in how does an alcohol urine test work would be to compare the urine alcohol test to the blood alcohol test. Usually the urine test will show a better detection of alcohol, because the body tries to quickly filter it from the blood. Therefore, it is filtered by the kidneys and released into the urine from the blood. This comparison between urine alcohol levels and blood alcohol levels is particularly true for doses of alcohol. The blood clears even large amounts of alcohol at a blood alcohol level of 0.15 within 10 hours.

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    How Is The Test Completed

    How does an alcohol urine test work, will mainly involve the employee providing a sample of urine to be analyzed. The sample will undergo laboratory testing for ethylene glycol. The one disadvantage of the current urine alcohol test is that a positive result for the presence of ethylene glucuronide will only telling the employer, police, or whomever ordered the test that the person did consume alcohol, but the test will not state the amount of alcohol consumed recently.

    This test can also be used by a court of law who has forbidden someone to consume alcohol, or if someone is in an alcohol rehabilitation program. If the test were positive for ethylene glucuronide, then the person who stated they avoided alcohol would not be telling the truth.

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    References

    Web Source: American Association for Clinical Chemistry. "Ethanol." 2010. Available: http://www.labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/ethanol/test.html