Breathalyzer VS Saliva

July 21, 2017

Drug Testing Articles


Statistics show that nearly half of all U.S. employers have implemented an alcohol abuse policy to help ensure the safety and well-being of all their employees. What they will be testing for is the Blood Alcohol Concentration or BAC for short, the standard for measuring the degree to which the individual is impaired by alcohol. Studies have shown that there is a correlation between the BAC and the level to how reactions and judgments are impaired. Here’s another interesting part, according to the research: people who drink heavily may also suffer from some sort of mental health problems, including but not limited to depression, anxiety disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). That’s not necessarily the end result, in some cases, those are the causes. For whatever reason, it still makes employers want to screen (or test) their employees. The two most common types of alcohol testing by employers are done with the Saliva or Breath.

When it comes to Saliva, the fluid originates from within the blood. The alcohol in the bloodstream can be detected in the individual’s saliva by using a Saliva Alcohol Test. They are quick and just as reliable when compared to a Breath Alcohol Test. In a Saliva Alcohol Test, the individual must place a swab covered with a harmless chemical that reacts to the saliva in their mouth. After a few minutes, or until it’s completely saturated with saliva, they can remove it. If alcohol is present, a colored stripe appears on the indicator. Otherwise, if the swab shows no colored stripe, the test is deemed “negative” for alcohol. However, it is always a good idea to have lab confirmation when you have any doubts.

Research has shown a direct correlation between a person’s BAC and their breathing. In the respiration process, oxygen is exchanged from the lungs to the blood each time we inhale. During the exhaling process, we exchange it for Carbon Dioxide mixed with the alcohol (gas) in the blood to be carried out of the lungs in the exhaled breath. With that in mind, that is where the Breath Alcohol Test can come into play by showing the level of alcohol in the person’s body system by simply doing what comes naturally, breathing.

Perhaps the most commonly heard way to test for alcohol is with a Breathalyzer. This is a non-intrusive was that indirectly measures BAC by measuring the amount of alcohol on one’s breath. Police Officers usually use this method to test drivers if they suspect alcohol is involved.

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