Journal Article

Ethanol Contamination Leads to Fatty Acid Ethyl Esters in Hair Samples

Nadia De Giovanni, Giuseppe Donadio and Marcello Chiarotti

in Journal of Analytical Toxicology

Volume 32, issue 2, pages 156-159
Published in print March 2008 | ISSN: 0146-4760
Published online March 2008 | e-ISSN: 1945-2403 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jat/32.2.156
Ethanol Contamination Leads to Fatty Acid Ethyl Esters in Hair Samples

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The diagnosis of alcoholism is a topical subject of discussion; in fact, many studies have been published on the determination of biochemical markers useful to this target. Fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEE) are minor metabolites of ethanol, and their usefulness has been demonstrated by their detection in hair using a headspace solid-phase microextraction-gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric technique. Environmental contamination in the analysis of drugs of abuse is a well-known focus of discussion between scientists. In the same way, interference from the surroundings could be hypothesized in FAEE detection. To assess the influence of ethanol contamination, an in vitro experiment was performed, leaving hair in an atmosphere saturated with ethanol vapors for 15 days. The spontaneous production of FAEE was demonstrated by analyzing hair day by day. In fact, we observed a constant increase of ethyl myristate, palmitate, and stearate that reached very high concentrations at the end of the investigation. Although the experiment was managed in a stressed way and could not represent real life, its purpose was to focus the attention of researchers on the problem of hair contamination that can occur, for example, with ethanol-containing cosmetics. Therefore, care in interpretation must be taken into account, especially with such a volatile molecule.

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Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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