Introduction: Ethyl glucuronide (EtG) has been established as a routine biomarker for monitoring alcohol abuse or abstinence. Recently, social networks and blogs have become a platform for sharing information on how to avoid EtG detection through bleaching, dyeing, shaving or straightening the hair. In this study, we investigated the influence of four special cleansing shampoos that promise to ‘detox’ and thereby reduce ethyl glucuronide concentrations in hair.
Methods: An optimized LC-MS/MS method was developed using a hypercarb® porous graphitic carbon (PGC) column and validated according to the guidelines of the German Society of Toxicological and Forensic Chemistry. For the comparative analysis of the present study, 25 real case hair samples were analyzed in total with 21 positive hair samples covering a concentration range of EtG (cETG) from 7-288 pg/mg and 4 negative hair samples with cETG < LOD (1 pg/mg). The hair samples were divided into two strands and were analyzed after treatment with one of the four cleansing shampoos and without shampoo treatment, respectively.
Results: EtG concentrations in hair did not show any significant differences after a single application of the various cleansing shampoos. EtG was still detectable in all hair samples at equal concentration levels, respectively. These results clearly demonstrated that a single application of the tested cleansing shampoos did not remove or reduce EtG from hair and therefore had no influence on EtG concentrations.
Conclusion: The reported LC-MS/MS method for the analysis of EtG in hair has been used to study the influence of so-called “detox” shampoos on EtG concentration in hair. This study showed that none of the four selected shampoos influenced the detected concentration of EtG in hair. These results demonstrate that these shampoos do not remove EtG from hair after a single application.