Measuring alcohol levels from sweat? Czech scientist says new method is more accurate

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A new method for measuring alcohol content through sweat has been invented by Czech biochemist Jan Halámek and his team of researchers working at the University of Albany in the United States. According to researchers, the new method is more accurate than a breath test and is also non-invasive.

If the Halámek’s new method takes root, drivers would be subjected to a test similar to the pregnancy one instead of a breath test. Halámek’s laboratory is developing a test strip revealing how much alcohol is circulating in the blood based on the level of alcohol in the sweat.

When the test strip is placed on the skin of a driver suspected of consuming alcohol, it changes color. The more alcohol the driver drank, the darker the strip is.

The method was tested in a laboratory setting with 26 volunteers who had to drink a few “shots” of vodka to reach 0.8 permille of alcohol in their blood.

Over the next few hours, more than a hundred measurements were made to compare the accuracy of test strips and breath alcohol meters.

According to Halámek, the advantage of the test strips is that the results are not distorted as those of the breath test, which can be influenced, for example, by acetone in the breath of diabetics or mouthwash.

“The breath test to determine blood alcohol level depends on unspecified electrochemical reactions. This system has discrepancies and is often unusable in court,” said Halámek.

Test strips, he said, would give law enforcement officers greater versatility, accuracy, and conclusiveness.

Halámek’s laboratory is currently working with IT experts to develop an application for smartphones to evaluate test strip results.

Earlier, Halámek also came up with other smart ideas for how to use sweat, such as his method for unlocking smartphones and other devices.

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