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The Science of Alcohol Testing: Breathalyzers

Affordable alcohol treatment centers, such as Yellowstone Recovery, are seeing an increase in alcohol abuse. The first indications of alcohol abuse in an individual can be identified through a Breathalyzer test. It might be the test that indicates a need for treatment, or that measures your sobriety upon entering a treatment facility. Either way, understanding how the Breathalyzer works might also help people understand the impact alcohol has on all body systems.

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Conversion of Alcohol

When some chemicals hit the bloodstream they are immediately altered. This is not necessarily the case with alcohol. Instead, it travels through the bloodstream and has an impact on almost all areas of the body. Impairment that slows the cognitive process, as well as motor functions, begins when there is about .05% alcohol in the bloodstream. In most cases, .4% results in a lack of consciousness.

Lungs and Alcohol

When you submit to a Breathalyzer, you are asked to blow hard. Some people try to fool it by blowing lightly or not drawing air from their lungs at all. However, to get an accurate measurement, the air has to be “deep lung” air. This is because the Breathalyzer measures the BAC by relying on the alcohol that was brought to the lungs by the oxygenated blood that travels there. This is also why the BAC may not reflect a drink that was taken just moments before the test.

Dangers of Alcohol


One of the dangers of alcohol is that it doesn’t convert, but does remain in the blood, traveling to all areas of the body. It is a toxin, so it is literally poisoning the body. It’s also highly addictive, but easily accessed, making it even more dangerous. Some of the health dangers run from the destruction of brain cells to fatal alcohol poisoning, and a wide variety in between. Some of the dangers aren’t related so much to the body system as the behaviors. Alcohol causes people to lose their inhibitions so that they don’t always make the smartest or healthiest of decisions.

If you or someone you love may have an issue with alcohol abuse or addiction, it can be helpful to visit one of the affordable alcohol treatment centers in Orange County and request an evaluation.

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