Can external factors, such as mouthwash or certain foods, affect the accuracy of alcohol testers?


Yes, external factors such as mouthwash or certain foods can potentially affect the accuracy of alcohol testers. While modern breathalyzers are designed to provide accurate readings, they may be influenced by substances that contain alcohol or substances that can interfere with the testing process. Here are some factors to consider:


Mouthwash and Breath Fresheners:

Mouthwash and breath fresheners may contain alcohol, and if used shortly before taking a breathalyzer test, they can contribute to an elevated reading. It’s advisable to wait for a sufficient amount of time after using such products before using a breathalyzer.

Certain Foods:

Some foods, especially those containing alcohol as an ingredient, may potentially impact breathalyzer readings. However, it’s important to note that the alcohol in food is generally not present in quantities that would result in a significant BAC reading. The alcohol content in most foods is usually not high enough to register as intoxication on a breathalyzer.

Residual Mouth Alcohol:

Residual mouth alcohol refers to the presence of alcohol vapors in the mouth that are not reflective of the alcohol in the bloodstream. This can be influenced by recent consumption of alcoholic beverages, and it may lead to a temporarily elevated reading on a breathalyzer.

Environmental Factors:

External environmental factors, such as exposure to certain chemicals or fumes, can potentially interfere with breathalyzer readings. It’s essential to use the device in a clean and well-ventilated environment.

To enhance the accuracy of breathalyzer readings, individuals should follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper usage, including any recommended waiting periods after eating, drinking, or using mouthwash. Law enforcement agencies are aware of potential external factors and often employ standardized procedures to mitigate their impact on breathalyzer tests conducted for legal purposes.


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