What is a Breath Alcohol Test?
A BAT uses an evidential breath test device (EBT) to to determine any blood alcohol content (BAC or blood alcohol concentration) in your system. It is an indirect method to measure intoxication using the ethanol present in the breath in a non-invasive, fast, and easy way.
What do I need to bring with me?
Identification in the form of a company ID with photo, driver’s license or passport.
How long does the test take?
The BAT usually takes about 15 minutes, including paperwork.
How long does it take to get the results?
The results are known instantly. If done on paper, the original testing form stays at the testing facility, and a copy will be provided both for the employee and employer, each with an original readout attached from the BAT device.
How do you read blood alcohol content in a test that uses breath?
Our Alcovisor Jupiter – a NHTSA-approved evidentiary breath device - uses a fuel cell sensor which detects ethyl alcohol - or ethanol - in the breath.
There is a direct relationship of the alcohol in the blood to the alcohol that is metabolized by the lungs from the bloodstream.
About 90% of alcohol consumed travels through the digestive system and then is broken down by liver. The rest is lost via sweat, saliva, urine, and breath - hence the advantage of the breathalyzer.
Some alcohol will enter the bloodstream through the stomach wall and small intestine prior to reaching the liver, and this alcohol-tinged blood will then circulate throughout the body, including the alveoli of the lungs, where some of the alcohol will be transfered and exhaled.
How does this correlation exist, you ask? The liver processes about one serving of alcohol/hour, so if a person drinks
more than one serving of alcohol/hour,
more of that alcohol will enter the bloodstream, all the while circulating through the heart and lungs. The more alcohol circulating through the heart and lungs, the more alcohol will be exhaled. The amount of alcohol collected in the lungs correlates to the amount of undigested alcohol in the bloodstream at a ratio of approximately 2,100 breath [in ml] to 1 blood [in liters].
Here's how it plays out: It is an accurate measure, in percentage, of
mg of alcohol per mg of blood. For example, a reading of 0.05% would be 0.05 of alcohol per 5.0 mg of blood.
What can affect BAC?
BAC can vary based on age, gender, volume/strength/speed of alcohol consumption, body weight/fat content/muscle content, metabolism, medications, food consumed, whether the alcohol is carbonated (champagne) or in a carbonated base (mixed drinks with soda), personal tolerance for alcohol, and any physiological issues such as diabetes.
What if I’m diabetic? Or on a low carb [Keto] diet?
The acetone sometimes present in the breath of diabetics is not picked up by our fuel cell sensor system, thus, no worries! Additionally, ketones that can be created via a low carb diet will not be detected, so no false positives.
Futhermore, not only are these devices
not sensitive to acetone and other ketones, they will not detect toluene, benzene and other aromatic hydrocarbons; ethyl acetate and similar esters; methane, ethane and other saturated hydrocarbons.
Is there any way to beat the BAT?
No, and there are many myths, including placing a copper-coated penny or batteries in your mouth, fooling the unit with mouthwash or mints/gum or menthol cigarettes, sucking on garlic, hyperventilating, hiding activated charcoal packets under your tongue or consuming charcoal pills.
These professional-grade breathalyzer machines are way too sophisticated.
Additionally, many items used to "trick" the EBT contain alcohol, such as mouthwash.
How do I know your device is accurate?
We calibrate our device more often than required to ensure it stays in top working order. Additionally, you will always be shown the device readout at o.oo% prior to your breath test, known as an "air blank."
If I'm a DOT-regulated driver, can I refuse a breathalyzer?
You can, but this will be seen as a Refusal to Test, which is basically equivalent to a positive breathalyzer result of 0.040 or greater, thus a violation of DOT regulations. This level requires that you be removed from safety-sensitive duties, meet with a Substance Abuse Professional for assessment and aftercare, undergo a series of random follow-up drug/alcohol screenings, and complete a return-to-duty test.
It is also a Refusal to Test if you test positive, but refuse to perform the confirmation breathalyzer.
There could be other company specific consequences as dictated by company policy. Additionally, reinstatement and related decisions are up the individual employer. Always check with your representative or human resource division for more specific guidelines.
How is the test conducted?
A breath test should only be performed after waiting at least 10 minutes after consumption of anything like gum or food, so your trip to be tested should allow you enough time to begin.
Once the initial paperwork is completed and your idenity verified, the technician will perform an "air blank" on the EBT device. This will show you that there is no residual alcohol in the device that could affect your test.
An individually wrapped, disposable mouthpiece will be placed on the EBT device. and you will be asked to blow into the device for approximately 5 seconds or as the technician directs, and the device will produce and print a result.
If there is a positive reading, you will be asked to wait 15 minutes (but no longer than 30 minutes) and then re-test for confirmation.
How long can a breathalyzer detect alcohol in the lungs?
In general, about 24 hours.
What is the science behind Oris' Alcovisor Jupiter breathalyzer?
Oris uses an extremely accurate and sensitive device with a fuel cell sensor, thus providing the most reliable results. This is the exact same technology used by law enforcement.
This EBT device measures alcohol content by creating a chemical reaction that oxidizes the alcohol in the breath sample and produces an electrical current. The strength of the current corresponds to the volume of alcohol present in the sample.
The more alcohol that is oxidized, the greater the current.
To break it down even further, the fuel cell has 2 platinum electrodes that are partitioned by an acidic electrolyte solution. As the testee exhales into the device, the air passes through the fuel cell, and the platinum electrode oxidizes any alcohol detected. Produced is acetic acid, protons and electrons (2 per each molecule of alcohol). The electrons then flow through a wire from the electrodes and result in a BAC reading.
The current is measured to best determine - indirectly - the subject's BAC, or blood alcohol content.