Balloon Breath Test: What It Is, How It Works, And Using A Breathalyser As Alternative
22 November, 2023
A balloon breath test is a manual method to measure the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of a person. It works by collecting a breath sample from an individual using a balloon-like bag. The bag contains bands of dichromate in the silica gel, which change colour based on the released amount of ethanol vapour. When alcohol is present, the crystals turn from yellow to green. Alternatively, people can use a breathalyser for more accurate and instantaneous results.
Breath testing is efficient for measuring alcohol levels in the body. The sample collection process is easy and non-invasive. In addition, people can quickly obtain the results without the need for lab analysis. There are two types of alcohol breath tests: manual and electronic. This article will provide information on the manual method of breath testing using a balloon breath devices, including their functioning and the option of using a breathalyser as an alternative.
What is the Balloon Breath Test
The balloon breath test is a manual testing method to measure the blood alcohol level of a person. It involves collecting a breath sample from an individual using a balloon-like bag. The person needs to breathe into the bag to obtain a baseline breath sample.
Additionally, this type of alcohol breath test is intended for personal use, such as monitoring alcohol intake or BAC. Following alcohol consumption, individuals can take a breath test to gauge their level of intoxication. It serves as a helpful tool for self-guidance, especially about the legal alcohol limit of 0.05% BAC in Australia.
Moreover, balloon breath portable devices are easy to use. It is also less expensive than electronic devices like breathalysers. However, most of them are for single-use only. Thus, a person may need more than one set when taking multiple tests on one occasion. On the other hand, regular consumers can use personal breathalysers like BACtrack from Breathalysers Australia to monitor their BAC level every hour.
- It provides rapid and on-the-spot alcohol level reading, offering timely information.
- It is non-invasive, requiring only a person to exhale into a balloon-like device. This stands in contrast to urine, saliva, hair, and blood tests, which may involve drawing blood or collecting other bodily fluids.
- It is compact and portable, allowing for easy transport and use in different settings.
- Compared to some other alcohol testing methods, balloon breath devices are generally more affordable.
- The process is simple and user-friendly, requiring minimal training for individuals conducting the test.
- It reduces the risk of contamination as the breath test does not involve handling bodily fluids directly.
How a Balloon Breath Test Works
The balloon breath test detects alcohol in the breath by measuring the ethanol vapour. This works because alcohol molecules are small and can evaporate from the blood vessels in the lungs into the breath. The test estimates the BAC of a person by measuring the ethanol vapour in their breath. This helps determine if someone is intoxicated and should not be driving.
The test requires a person to blow a balloon until it is full and then release the air in a glass tube. The tube has bands of dichromate in the silica gel. These bands change colour based on the released amount of ethanol vapour. When alcohol is present, the crystals turn from yellow to green.
Furthermore, individuals can easily administer this test themselves. Taking the test is comfortable, with no associated discomfort. It is an efficient method with no risks. The results typically come in just two minutes, and initial tests indicate minimal colour change after this duration. The test offers semi-quantitative results for breath alcohol content up to 0.05%.
Interpreting the Results
To interpret the results, people can follow a simple guide. If there is no colour change in the balloon, it means that there is no presence of alcohol. However, if alcohol is present, people can interpret the results based on the number of green bands that appear.
If there is just one green band, it means the blood alcohol level is 0.05% or below. This suggests a small amount of alcohol. Two green bands mean the level is between 0.05% and 0.10%, indicating a moderate amount of alcohol. When three green bands show up, it signals a higher level, from 0.10% to 0.15%.
Using a Breathalyser as an Alternative to a Balloon Breath Test
Using a breathalyser has become a prevalent and efficient alternative to traditional balloon breath tests in various settings. It is an electronic device that measures the BAC of an individual. Police officers often rely on handheld breathalysers to determine if a driver is under the influence of alcohol. This is crucial in ensuring road safety and preventing accidents, as it provides an objective and quantitative alcohol measurement.
In addition to law enforcement, companies use workplace breathalysers, such as SHIELD Express Identity, to monitor impairment in the workplace. This is especially important in high-risk industries, like mining, railway, and construction, where employees perform safety-sensitive tasks. By using breathalysers, employers can ensure the safety of their employees and minimise the risk of accidents.
Furthermore, the use of breathalysers has also become popular among individuals for personal use. Many people use devices like the BACtrack S80 Pro, the BACrack Trace Pro, or the BACtrack Mobile Pro to check their BAC before driving. This practice helps to minimise the possibility of drink driving and promotes responsible behaviour.
How to Operate a Breathalyser
To operate a breathalyser, one needs to follow a few simple steps. Firstly, people need to wait for about 15 to 20 minutes after eating, smoking, or drinking before testing. This waiting period allows the body sufficient time to process alcohol and reach the lungs.
Once ready, the user should press the power button to activate the sensors. Then, they have to take a deep breath and exhale continuously into the mouthpiece. Afterwards, the user needs to wait for the breathalyser to process the breath sample. Within 10 to 15 seconds, the device will display the BAC results.
The balloon breath test is a simple and manual method for individuals to measure their BAC. To use, a person blows into a balloon, releasing air into a tube containing dichromate bands. If alcohol is present, the bands change colour, indicating the breath alcohol content within two minutes. It is a practical tool for self-monitoring alcohol intake, especially concerning legal limits. However, due to its single-use nature, multiple sets may be needed for consecutive tests.
Using a breathalyser offers a superior alternative to traditional balloon breath devices in various situations. Whether in law enforcement, workplace safety, or personal use, these electronic devices provide objective and quick measurements of BAC. Operating a breathalyser is straightforward: wait, activate, breathe, and get results within seconds. This promotes responsible behaviour, enhances road safety, and ensures a sober workplace environment. These devices are conveniently available online through Breathalysers Australia.