This report discusses the significance of possible interference of acetone in breath alcohol testing. The following dimensions were considered: 1) what levels of acetone concentration may appear on the breath; 2) what levels of acetone concentration may produce significant breath alcohol concentration (BAC) readings on breath testers; and 3) which instrument types may be sensitive to the presence of acetone. The issue of acetone interference was found to have no practical significance in traffic law enforcement for the following reasons: 1) the level of acetone on the breath that would be required to produce even minimal BAC readings (e.g., 0.01% BAC) is rarely seen in on-the-road arrest situations (i.e., less than 0.028%); 2) diabetic and dieting individuals who are well enough to drive do not have sufficient levels of acetone on their breath to increase BAC readings more than a very small amount (a practical maximum of 0.01%-0.02%); and 3) the number of evidential breath testers in use that are unable to discriminate between acetone and ethyl alcohol is very small, estimated to be less than 1,000 nationwide. Most commercially available evidential breath testers sold today are made to distinguish acetone from ethyl alcohol, so that the issue is moot in these cases.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Systems Center

    55 Broadway, Kendall Square
    Cambridge, MA  United States  02142

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • FLORES, A L
    • FRANK, J F
  • Publication Date: 1985-9

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 29 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00491241
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-806 922
  • Contract Numbers: PPA-534
  • Files: HSL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Feb 28 1990 12:00AM