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False positives
Posted by The Breathalyzer Team on 8/24/2011 to General Information
Breathalyzers measure the chemical reaction when ethanol in the breath passes into the breathalyzer. By measuring the reaction, the breathalyzer can indicate the amount of alcohol inside the users lungs. However there are outside factors which can impact your test results.

Mouthwash, even if you only had one beer, don’t try to hide it with this. Some brands of mouthwash, such as Listerine contain as much as 26.9% alcohol. Twice as much as a glass of wine. Gargle that for 30 secs and it stays in your mouth for 20 minutes. Which if you had nothing at all could cause you to blow over.

A well-known fact, smoking has negative affects on your life, but the combined chemicals in cigarettes are potent enough to show high level of BAC (blood alcohol levels). Acetaldehyde is a compound produced in the liver in small amounts as a by-product in the metabolism of alcohol. Because breathalyzers can’t tell the difference between alcohol and acetaldehyde, smokers tend to have a higher BAC level. Yet another reason not to smoke.

Eat something. If your diabetic this could be potentially useful. Hypoglycemia causes the production of acetone, much like acetaldehyde, will be read by the Breathalyzer as alcohol. Not to mention the effects as it is when someone suffers from low blood sugar. Blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, slurred speech, weakness, poor co-ordination, disoriented, the same symptoms of inebriation. This is associated to a low carb and low sugar diet.

Stomach Acid. If you burp or suffer from acid reflux, this too could produce a false positive. The alcohol in your stomach stays in your mouth for 20 minutes after the burp. The machine multiplies the amount of alcohol in a breath sample by 2100, it assumes the sample came from the lungs not the stomach; the average person has 2100 units in their blood stream for every unit in their breath.

Be sure to have a follow up breathalyzer done within 15 minutes. The last thing you would want it to fail a breathalyzer at no fault of your own.

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