Influence of repeated permanent coloring and bleaching on ethyl glucuronide concentrations in hair from alcohol-dependent patients
van Nuijs, Alexander L.N.
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Pharmacy
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Forensic science international. - Lausanne
, p. 18-22
University of Antwerp
Background Ethyl glucuronide (EtG), a minor metabolite of alcohol, is used as a sensitive marker in hair to detect the retrospective consumption of alcohol. The proximal 03 cm hair segment is often used for analysis, providing information on alcohol consumption over the past 3 months. Using more distal segments would allow the detection of alcohol consumption over longer time periods, thereby addressing the chronicity of the consumption. In view of this, permanent coloring and bleaching were shown in vitro to alter EtG concentrations in hair, but no in vivo studies are available to prove or disprove this. Aims To investigate the influence of repeated bleaching and permanent coloring on EtG concentrations in vivo and to assess the stability of EtG concentrations in distal compared to proximal hair segments. Methods Hair samples from alcohol-dependent patients with uncolored/unbleached (N = 4), permanent coloration (N = 5) and bleached hair (N = 5) were analyzed in two to six 3 cm long segments for EtG concentrations, and alcohol consumption and hair cosmetic treatments were assessed. Results We observed that hair bleaching and permanent coloring reduces EtG concentrations by 82 ± 11% and 65 ± 24%, respectively, with correlations between the number of cosmetic treatments and the decrease in EtG concentrations. EtG remained stable in untreated hair samples up to 18 cm. Conclusions EtG is a sensitive marker to assess chronic alcohol consumption up to 18 months in alcohol-dependent patients with no cosmetic hair treatments. However, in alcohol-dependent patients who color or bleach their hair, care should be taken when interpreting EtG measurements.