Reasons and Procedure For Conducting an Ethylene Glycol Test

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Ethylene Glycol Test

This test is done on a blood sample to test for ethylene glycol in your bloodstream.

What is Ethylene Glycol?

It is a type of alcohol which is odorless, colorless and sweet-tasting, but it is poisonous. It is a chemical component which is found in many household products such as paints, detergents, cosmetics and anti-freeze.

  • Since it has no color or odor, people sometimes drink it mistakenly.
  • Some people drink it purposely as a substitute for drinking alcohol (ethanol).
  • Some also drink it deliberately when they make a suicide attempt.

Ethylene Glycol Poisoning

  • Drinking ethylene glycol produces a state of intoxication similar to that after drinking alcohol.
  • The toxic effects show up within a few hours, with convulsions, nausea, vomiting, stupor, and sometimes coma.
  • The body’s chemical balance is totally disturbed, sometimes leading to metabolic acidosis.
  • It can damage the kidneys, liver, lungs and brain, leading to their failure, shock and ultimately death.

Reason Why this Test is Conducted

It is ordered when a doctor suspects ethylene glycol poisoning. Even a small amount of ethylene glycol can lead to poisoning and death. As little as 4 ounces (about 120 milliliters) can kill an adult. So, it is imperative to get an examination and test done as soon as possible.


  • A blood sample will be taken from the back of your hand or the inside of your elbow.
  • But before inserting the needle, the health care provider will first clean that area of the skin with an antiseptic. If the vein is difficult to find, an elastic band may be wrapped around the upper arm, to make the vein stand out.
  • After drawing blood, it will transferred into a tube which is attached to the needle, or into a glass vial.
  • The puncture may be covered with a bandage in case of bleeding.

Kacey Ethylene Glycol Test

Cats, dogs and other small pets are also at risk of poisoning by ethylene glycol, if they accidentally consume paints, detergents, or any other home products containing this chemical. It is equally dangerous for pets, and a new test called Kacey ethylene glycol test has been devised specifically for animals.

This is in the form of a kit and you can order it if you suspect your pet of ethylene glycol poisoning.