Volume 42, Issue 6 (November 1997)
The Response of the Intoxilyzer 5000® to Five Potential Interfering Substances
A study was conducted of potential vapor phase interferents which could be present on human breath and also be capable of inducing a false-positive response for ethanol on the evidential infrared-based breath testing device, the Intoxilyzer-5000. This involved preparation and validation of a range of vapor standards, which were introduced to the instrument using a dynamic flow double-bubbler system. Potential interferents were chosen on the basis of both their infrared signatures and their general availability, and included toluene, m-xylene, o-xylene, methanol and isopropanol. All compounds tested were found to be capable of inducing false-positive readings for ethanol in a highly reproducible manner, as a result of which it has been possible to derive precise least-squares equations describing the ethanol readout expected for any given blood concentration of toluene, m-xylene, o-xylene, methanol and isopropanol. The likelihood of an interference compromising the integrity of the analysis is related to both the toxicological significance and prevalence of a given blood concentration of each solvent, and the point at which the instrumental interference light is triggered in each case.