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.