As of late 2019, Cansford Labs has had another blood alcohol testing method in its armoury in the form of PEth blood tests, conducted -- via finger prick tests. We are the only laboratory in the UK to be accredited with ISO 17025 for this alcohol testing method - here’s everything you need to know…
How PEth alcohol testing works
Taking a blood sample for a PEth alcohol test is simple: the collector takes just a few drops of blood from the subject’s fingertip via a compact, portable device in a process that takes just seconds. These blood drops are then transported securely to the lab at room temperature, and the dry blood spots analysed for the presence of alcohol.
This analysis searches for the presence of PEth, which is a direct alcohol biomarker - one of two types of markers of alcohol present in an individual’s system.
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Direct biomarkers are created when ethanol either reacts with substances in the body, or is metabolised. Indirect alcohol biomarkers are cells - such as tissues or organs - or enzymes that are changed as a result of chronic or acute alcohol consumption.
It is possible for levels of indirect biomarkers to be affected by the presence of other substances. However, testing for direct biomarkers - like PEth - gives a true indication of whether the individual genuinely has consumed alcohol during the testing period.
The benefits of PEth alcohol testing
While venous blood drawing is an established method for testing for PEth testing, it does have its limitations It is an invasive testing method, and costly too, as trained medical staff are required for sample collection. Results may take up to a week to be returned - which can prove problematic in time-sensitive situations.
"PEth testing can distinguish between heavy, moderate and occasional alcohol use."
PEth testing has a longer alcohol detection window - up to one month after consumption. It is less invasive and needs not be conducted by a trained medical professional, requiring only a few drops of blood to be taken via a finger prick - similar to blood sugar testing for diabetics. And PEth testing can also distinguish between heavy, moderate and occasional alcohol use - including establishing abstinence in the last month - without health, gender, age or previous alcohol issues impacting on the results.
Fast, accurate and reliable
There are other UK labs that offer PEth alcohol testing for the clients of family lawyers and social workers. However, with no in-house testing facilities, the samples that are collected are generally sent to overseas laboratories for analysis.
At Cansford Labs, we have invested heavily in developing in-house PEth testing capabilities, and as a result, have become the only UK lab to be given ISO 17025 accreditation for this form of alcohol testing. Because our collection, analysis and reporting procedures are all conducted in-house, we are able to guarantee a turnaround time of three working days after receipt of the sample - the same as for our hair testing service.
Our clients will regularly combine both PEth and hair testing for alcohol misuse - the former covering a 30-day period, the latter up to six months - which can show differences and comparisons between recent and long-term alcohol usage. With its fast turnaround times, non-invasive nature, detailed analysis and its additional benefits when combined with hair alcohol testing, we are not surprised that PEth alcohol testing is surging in popularity.
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