New consensus on alcohol markers in hair published by SoHT

The latest edition of the consensus for the use of alcohol markers in hair was published by the Society of Hair Testing (SoHT) on 10 September 2014. Click here to read consensus

The consensus was discussed at the SoHT’s annual conference held in Bordeaux in June 2014. Two of Cansford Lab’s members of staff were present at the conference, and were able to contribute to the discussion – the points raised by them were accepted by the SoHT and have been adopted in the published consensus.

Cansford Labs is in a unique position in the UK market, being the only UK lab to be accredited by UKAS to ISO17025, for the determination of alcohol abstinence by hair analysis.

The latest consensus, split into two sections; Abstinence Assessment and Chronic Excessive Consumption, suggests to laboratories how the analysis of hair for alcohol use should be performed.

Cansford Labs supports the consensus, and perhaps one of the most important points to note is:-

“It is not advisable to use the results of hair testing for alcohol markers in isolation.”

We always suggest that blood analysis, namely Liver Function Test (LFT) and Carbohydrate Deficient Transferrin (CDT), is performed in conjunction with hair analysis. More traditional tests such as Full Blood Count (FBC) can be useful, but are prone to false positive results which can complicate the interpretation of results.

Whilst the consensus is freely available to the public, on the SoHT website (, the targeted audience of the consensus are laboratories who are performing the analysis. Therefore, we would recommend discussing your requirements with ourselves so that we recommend the most appropriate test for your needs.

Our laboratory in Cardiff can be contacted on 029 20 682031 or an email can be sent to


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