It was reported today on the UK news that UK ministers are consulting with the Scottish government, on whether lowering the drink drive level in Scotland to 0.05% BAC has had a significant impact on road safety in Scotland. The level for the rest of the UK remains at the higher 0.08% BAC currently, although the department of transport has been quoted as saying there are no current plans to lower the level.
Screening for alcohol levels is now easier than ever. There are a complete range of single use testing kits which will allow instant screening to either a pre set cut off level or even give a semi quantitive indicator of the detected level.
The biotechnology in these tests is now well tested and most come with a full set of quality certification, ensuring a high level of accuracy if used to the manufacturers guidelines.
Most instant tests are actually set to Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) cut off levels. This can seem a little confusing when you are running a test on either saliva or breath, but with all the legislation referenced to BAC this actually makes sense. It also makes changing from saliva to breath screening a lot simpler, eliminating the need to cross reference different scales of measurement.
So what is available in todays market. Lets first look at the options for single use breath alcohol testers. All contain a chemical crystal, which on exposure to alcohol changes colour. By altering the chemical, this colour change can be made to occur only when a predetermined level of alcohol is reached. This makes it possible to set UK HSE breath alcohol testers to give positive results at alcohol levels of 0.02%BAC Scottish and French (EU) driving level cut of alcohol testers at alcohol levels of 0.05%BAC and UK England & Wales driving limit alcohol testers at alcohol levels of 0.08%BAC All three options are also available in triple test packs and double test packs with blow bags.
By altering the chemical slightly it is also possible to make it change colour to a greater degree at higher alcohol exposure levels. This makes it possible to turn the alcohol tester from a simple cut off positive or negative test, into a semi quantitive breath alcohol test. The darker the shade of colour change, the higher the alcohol level detected. By reading the colour change showing at a set time these alcohol testers give a guide to the actual blood alcohol level at the time of testing.
Breath testing is easy, cheap and reliable. All these alcohol testers are single use disposable test kits. Expiry dates are normally 24-36 months and storage is normally at room temperature with no special requirements. Two, ten second blows are needed to get an accurate reading. In donors with poor lung function, asthma, bronchitis etc this may render the test useless, so an option for these tests would be a saliva test strip alcohol tester.
Alcohol saliva testing is as simple and reliable as saliva drug testing, and indeed an ever increasing range of saliva drug tests do incorporate a saliva alcohol test strip with a 0.02%BAC sensitivity for workplace HSE screening.
The biotechnology is similar to the chemical breathalyser reaction with a colour change on a pad to which the saliva is added. The colour change is compared to a reference colour chart and the best match selected to give a semi quantitive alcohol level.
Both single use chemical breathalyser alcohol testers and saliva alcohol test strips are suitable for healthcare and workplace alcohol screening. Backed up with a digital breathalyser, these screens offer flexible, multi-location screening ability within a site or business. All test results are screening only, non evidential and all non negative results for alcohol should be confirmed using an accredited laboratory service offering evidential and chain of custody controlled certified results.
- Their breath smells of alcohol first thing in the morning or while they are at work
- They have a drink driving conviction
- They drink alcohol at lunchtime
- They keep mouthwash in their office
- They often appear dishevelled & hungover
- They are grumpy & sullen at work
- They are the life and soul of the office night out, and seem to come alive when they drink.
While none of these signs in itself is conclusive, they may be pointers to a problem in a colleague or family member.
Health problems associated with drinking alcohol
Alcohol is sold all over the UK. In fact, around 90% of adults claim to drink alcohol – it’s accountable for approximately 1 in 16 hospital admissions, whilst misuse of the substance is responsible for over 20,000 premature deaths every year. Binge drinking is more likely to cause harm, and when a person continually exceeds 3 drinks per day, this risk dramatically increases.
When people think about the risks of drinking alcohol, most immediately think of accidents caused by intoxication and the inability to think clearly (such as falls, drink driving, fights, or reckless promiscuity). However, this is only one of the things people should be worrying about. In many cases, the long term risks of consuming too much alcohol are much more serious:
Liver disease is very common amongst those who regularly consume larger volumes of alcohol than the liver can process, as it has the ability to damage, or even destroy the liver cells. The three main types of liver disease caused by an excessive amount of alcohol include:
– Fatty liver disease (earliest stage): Build up of extra fat in liver cells.
Symptoms: This often has no symptoms, especially when it is only a mild case. However, if symptoms are present, they usually include: tiredness, loss of appetite, or pain and discomfort around the right side of your body where the liver is. It can be officially diagnosed via ultrasound or a liver biopsy.
– Alcoholic hepatitis: Liver swells and becomes damaged.
Symptoms: Jaundice, abdominal pain, fever, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. If it is a very severe case, it has the possibility of leading onto more serious complications such as liver failure, and possibly even death in very severe cases.
– Cirrhosis of the liver (final stage): Scarring of the liver.
Symptoms: Jaundice, abdominal pain, fever, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite.
Between 10% and 20% of heavy drinkers develop cirrhosis, and once the damage to the liver has been done, it cannot be reversed.
Alcohol can also have a negative effect on the cardiovascular system, and has been found to be associated with the following diseases:
– Congestive Heart Failure
Regular consumption of large volumes of alcohol can lead to enlargement of the heart, making it unable to pump as effectively as it should. It is not curable, and may require a pacemaker or even a heart transplant.
– Cardiomyopathy (heart disease)
– Hypertension (high blood pressure)
It is estimated that the risk of hypertension for those drinking over 3 units of alcohol per day is up to 50% higher than for those who do not drink alcohol, and between 11% and 30% of all hypertension may be related to heavy alcohol consumption.
– Cardiac Arrhythmia (disturbances in heart rhythm)
Binge drinking over a long period of time can cause otherwise healthy people to experience an irregular rhythm of the heart, thus increasing the risk of a heart attack and possibly even sudden death.
– Cerebrovascular Haemorrhage (stroke)
This is the most common form of fatal stroke for those under the age of 65, and regular alcohol consumption can greatly increase the risk of this.
These are the main problems associated with alcohol in the UK. However, it doesn’t stop there! An excess of alcohol has also been found to have negative effects on other parts of the body including the:
– Gastrointestinal tract
– Nervous system
It can also cause a series of other health problems, such as:
However, if you think that alcohol consumption only causes physical health problems, you are sorely mistaken. Alcohol itself is a depressant, and is also responsible for a series of psychiatric problems, such as suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, as well as alcohol dependence syndrome.
It is also responsible for causing social problems, such as impaired performance at work and relationship problems, and even more serious things such as violent crimes and anti-social behaviour.
Of course a glass of red wine now and then won’t do much harm, but before you’re considering going out drinking for the fourth night in a row, just think about it…is it really worth it?
DAL-701 is a professional standard alcohol test kit supplied in packs of 25 alcohol test strips or bulk 250 alcohol test packs.
The alcohol test is a professional In Vitro Medical Diagnostic test IVDD CE certified for professional alcohol detection in saliva. A simple saliva sample is taken and added to a reactive pad on the alcohol test strip. The colour change at 2 minutes indicates a semi quantative blood alcohol level at the time of sampling.
The alcohol test is also widely used to dip into other liquids as an instant test for alcohol. The result is not semi-quantative if the fluid tested is not saliva. Care must be taken to avoid liquids containing strong azo blue dyes, high caffeine levels and extreme pH products, but considering these limitations the test makes a very cost effective immediate point of test alcohol screen with the option of immediate saliva testing to evaluate blood alcohol levels if alcohol comsuption is suspected.
UK and EU alcohol test kits are suitable for all breath alcohol test situations.
Simple to use and interpret, these quick alcohol test kits require just 2 minutes to detect alcohol in breath at 3 pre-determined cut off alcohol levels
All the above breath alcohol tests are available in pack of 3 or 6 and also bulk packs of 20 test kits .
To complete an alcohol test, simply remove the test from its foil, bend to break the reagent vial then blow. Positive alcohol test results at or above the specified detection level are indicated by a clear colour change.
With unemployment amongst white collar workers at an all time high and rising, this is not the time to take any risks with your current employment. Loss of your driving license may not immediately be seen as critical to your employment role, but the fact won’t go unnoticed and at the very least will cost you dearly.
Most of us don’t drink and drive, or at least don’t plan to. It’s the unplanned events which catch us out, the lunch time meeting where your glass gets refilled unnoticed. The morning after when we have an early start. The unexpected call, when you wern’t expecting to have to work, in effect, modern jobs are no longer 9-5 and mobile phones and peer pressure mean we are always expected to be available.
It’s these situations where access to a breathalyser can be invaluable. If its telling your employer with conviction that you are unable to travel, this may be mopre acceptable. In these situations a digital measure should not be undervalued, as alcohol reduces our ability to judge how we are functioning.
The use of most breathalysers has been designed to be single button with tonal indicators of when and how long to blow. Modern units will not give a reading unless the proceedure is completed, making self testing while under the influence more reliable.
Modern digital breathalyers such as the DA5000 breathalyser from Valuebreathalysers offer all this technology for under £50.00 These hand held breathalyser units also have alarm settings at 0.05%BAC well below the UK current prosecution level of 0.08%BAC (correct at time of publishing) giving users a significant warning margin should they approach the legal levels.
All users would advise drivers not to drive until the alcohol blood levels are no longer measurable, as all alcohol will reduce performance. By measuring the blood levels after drinking, breathalysers can help users judge how their body clears alcohol, and help plan and avoid any alcohol drunk during the week and week end.
Alcohol costs the NHS an estimated £3 billion pounds a year
Car crashes linked to alcohol cost an estimated £300 million pounds to the health services
This week the BMA (British Medical Association) doctors called for a ban on alcohol advertising, as alcohol is now one of the leading causes of death and morbidity in the UK.
Here is an extract from an article in The Times 21/4/09
Britain used to have Europe’s safest roads. No longer. Over the past six years the Netherlands and Sweden have been able to boast of lower road death rates and more success in cutting the number of drink-related crashes. What has not changed is the British legal limit for drink-driving, which stands at 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood despite two abandoned efforts by the Government to bring it down in line with European norms.
A third effort is announced today. It deserves to survive the journey to the statute book.
Last month the Office for National Statistics published its findings from the general household survey
Over a third of adults exceeded the daily limits for regular drinking on at least one day during the week before interview despite growing awareness of safe drinking levels, annual data on smoking and drinking from the Office for National Statistics showed
Current advice on drinking is that men should not regularly drink more than three to four units of alcohol and women should not regularly drink more than two to three units. The General Household Survey (GHS) 2007 report shows that 37 per cent of adults exceeded the benchmark and 20 per cent of adults consumed more than double the benchmark on their heaviest drinking day of the week