What Are Breathalyzers?

What Are Breathalyzers?

Breathalyzer is a specific band name that's become commonly used like a generic (like Band-Aid and Xerox) to refer to any number of breath analyzers that detect alcohol from the breath. Breathalyzers are devices that are used in order to measure a users BAC (Breath Alcohol Content), and come in a variety of all shapes and sizes and vary in usage. Some forms of usage include (and are not limited to) police tests for drink driving, workplace security checks, and even personal tests. 

 

One of the most popular forms of breathalyzers is the handheld breathalyzer, which is the type of breathalyzer that police forces all around the world use for testing one's alcohol level. The police grade handheld breathalyzer usually contains an electrochemical fuel cell (which provides more accurate readings), as opposed to a semiconductor. Other than the aforementioned difference between the fuel cell and semiconductor sensors, there are quite a number of other difference- for instance: fuel cell breathalyzers have a faster warm-up time than a semiconductor breathalyzer, and have a better accuracy rating. All of these improvements can be reflected in the price tag- with the fuel cell breathalyzer retailing for a higher price. 

 

There are a few situations in which a breathalyzer may fail to measure BAC accurately. Notably, individuals with higher-than-normal levels of acetone in their breath may have it detected as ethanol. This could include diabetics, those on fasting diets, or those adhering to a ketogenic diet. There are a few other substances that could interfere with the chemistry of a breathalyzer, but not ones that you’re too likely to have in your bloodstream, thankfully.