A closer look at breathalyzers.
Posted by The Breathalyzer Team on 7/12/2010
to Product News
Breathalyzers are becoming more popular now as people start realizing the dangerous consequences of alcohol impairment. Breathalyzers are now used not only by professionals, but by the general public. Anyone can carry a breathalyzer with them and use it to check their blood alcohol level and use it to help decide whether they are impaired.
The question is, are breathalyzers really effective? And to answer that, why don’t we take a closer look at how breathalyzers work.
Breathalyzers do not directly measure a person’s BAC. They rely on the alcohol concentration in a person’s breath. Since alcohol is not digested by the body, it merely circulates through the blood and is eventually evaporated through the lungs. This is what breathalyzers measure, and the BAC level is merely inferred from the results of the breath test. This is why these devices are called breathalyzers.
For breathalyzers to more accurately and effectively work, you need to wait at least 20 minutes from the time of your last drink before you can use a breathalyzer. It takes 20 minutes before the alcohol is absorbed into your body and evaporated through the lungs.
There are many different types of breathalyzers, and one of them is the oxide semiconductor breathalyzer. This is a very common type. It measures impairment by checking the reaction of alcohol in the breath with the compound found on the sensor.
Despite the different types, breathalyzers work the same way. Most devices are pretty simple; they are made up of a detector and a reaction chamber where the chemical reaction produced by the alcohol is tested. When a person blows through the mouthpiece attached to the breathalyzer, his breath will be directed to this chamber where it is tested for any reactions to the chemicals already present. When a chemical reaction occurs due to the alcohol, a color change occurs, and this is then measured by a meter and translated by a special photocell system into data that is then displayed and provided to the tester.
Breathalyzers are not always fool-proof. They are also not adequate for court convictions in cases of drunk. Although there are some professional breathalyzers, with DOT approval, that the results can be used as evidence when collected by a certified professional.
However, breathalyzers are nevertheless widely used because they can still measure impairment level to a certain extent. The products that are also made by trusted manufacturers offer enough accuracy. Breath tests are also found to be generally accurate since the alcohol that is evaporated through the lungs is the exact same percentage as what is absorbed in the bloodstream. Also, the fact that breathalyzers are convenient, portable and can be easily used makes them a extremely useful tool so people can make the right and informed decision for themselves with regards to alcohol impairment.