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Why would ethanol show up in a blood test if a person had not been drinking alcohol in many years. What are other reasons for showing ethanol?

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There are some situations when ethanol-like compounds can be present in the blood stream:

[...] exposure to hand sanitizers, after shave lotions, perfumes, medications, hygiene products, cosmetics, foods [...] Uncontrolled diabetes mellitus can cause false positive alcohol tests.

Source: Dr. Kokil Mathur. Answer on: False-Positives for blood alcohol content. Available from MedHelp forums.

Other causes as pointed on eHow.com:

  • low calorie diets
  • gasoline, paints, lacquers
  • lower hematocrit values
  • diabetes mellitus
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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you Dr. Kohl for your answer, but none of the above seems to apply. I was in the Hospital Emergency with H.Pylori, Gastritis, Duodenal inflammation. It showed WBC of 15.4 and Ketones 15. I'm not a diabetic $\endgroup$ – Traude K. Sep 6 '14 at 21:56
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Convincing answer was given In Syrups or injections Drugs to dissolve the active ingredients use different types of alcohol use or alcohol is also used in some Toothpaste that maybe cause +alcohol test

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