Behavior Research Methods & Instrumentation

, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 814–818 | Cite as

Alcohol breath tests: Criterion times for avoiding contamination by “mouth alcohol”

  • Glenn R. Caddy
  • Mark B. Sobell
  • Linda C. Sobell
Methods & Designs


Using either a gas chromatography or an infrared absorption technique, series of blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) determined by breath tests were obtained from human subjects immediately subsequent to their having only oral contact with beverages ranging in ethyl alcohol concentration from 4% to 95% +. Times for total dissipation of mouth alcohol residuals to a level of practical nonsignificance ranged from 10 to 19 min. Dissipation rates were an inverse and approximately exponential function of the ethyl alcohol concentration of the beverage and were greatly shortened by rinsing the mouth with warm (34°C) water prior to testing. The results are discussed in terms of their relevance to the methodology of a number of research studies employing BAC breath-testing equipment.


Alcoholic Beverage Breath Test Alcohol Concentration Register Trade Breath Analysis 
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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Glenn R. Caddy
    • 1
  • Mark B. Sobell
    • 2
  • Linda C. Sobell
    • 2
  1. 1.Addiction Research and Treatment CenterOld Dominion UniversityNorfolk
  2. 2.Vanderbilt UniversityNashville

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