PEth Blood Testing

What is PEth Testing?

Phosphatidylethanol (PEth) is a very specific alcohol biomarker and provides the highest sensitivity for the detection of current regular alcohol consumption. PEth testing is particularly effective for detecting chronic and heavy drinking where it is critical in settings such as the monitoring of doctors, child custody or drink driving violations.

At Cansford Labs, PEth requires only a few drops of blood in the form of ‘dry blood spots’ that are taken for analysis at a laboratory.   Known as PEth testing, it offers a modern, sensitive alternative to traditional methods of blood testing for alcohol.

PEth enables the discrimination of heavy versus moderate or occasional drinkers, and can monitor abstinence within the past month. Age, gender, health or previous alcohol issues do not impact on the results.

Until recently, venous blood (obtained by venipuncture) measuring indirect markers; was the specimen of choice for measuring alcohol misuse. The indirect markers used can be subject to contributory factors, such as other medication used.

Cansford Laboratories is now the only laboratory in the UK to be accredited with ISO 17025 for a highly accurate finger prick test for alcohol use

What you need to know about PEth testing:

Detection window:

  • Approximately one month


Substances tested for:

  • Phosphatidylethanol (PEth)


Collection method:

  • Via a finger prick using a compact device, a convenient technique for collection, transport, and storage.
  • A number of blood drops need to be collected in a specially designed collection kit.


  • PEth is more accurate, much easier to collect, yet no more expensive than traditional blood tests.



  • Alcohol testing a PEth blood sample provides a view of the last month of consumption. If for a longer period, a hair alcohol test can cover up to six months of consumption.

Why Cansford Labs for PEth Testing?

At the forefront of Research and Development for drug and alcohol testing, we are the only UK laboratory to have invested in developing PEth testing in-house to provide a more accurate and less invasive form of blood testing of alcohol levels.

Because we carry out PEth testing ‘in-house’ Cansford is able to provide the same guarantee turnaround as our hair testing service – within three working days of receipt –  meaning NO delays through the use of external labs. Most PEth testing is currently is conducted in international laboratories.

As the only provider of ‘in-house’ PEth testing in the UK, no other laboratory can offer the same turnaround guarantee for combined PEth and hair testing and reporting.

The Science. What is PEth?

Phosphatidylethanol (PEth)  only forms in the presence of Ethanol, meaning it is a direct marker for alcohol intake. This makes is a more sensitive indicator than existing markers of CDT, LFT and FBC.

PEth can be detected for up to a month.

PEth is eliminated from the body in about 30 days, meaning the window of detection is often given as one month.

Collection of both a hair and blood sample can compliment each other to show comparisons or differences between recent and long-term alcohol use.

Learn about our other testing services

Interested in blood testing with Cansford Laboratories? Request a quote below

Got questions? Read our testing FAQs

Collecting quotes for drug, alcohol, or DNA Testing?

Request yours below, or contact our lab team with your questions about testing on
029 2054 0567