Halámek's new method is expected to be more precise than traditional breathalyzer testing (illustrative photo)

Czech scientist develops new method for blood alcohol testing

Czech forensic chemist Jan Halamek and his team at the University at Albany have developed a new method that measures a person's BAC by analysing their sweat

Albany, USA, Jan 6 (CTK) – Czech forensic chemist Jan Halamek and his team of researchers at the University at Albany developed a new method that measures a person’s blood alcohol content by analysing their sweat, the Phys.org server has reported.

The new method is expected to be more precise than the usual breathalyser method.

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Halamek said sweat glands are close enough to blood circulation that ethanol can be detected by using a sensing strip similar to a pregnancy test.

The strip was tested on 26 volunteers who consumed alcohol to obtain 0.8 per mille blood alcohol content and the results were published in the Analytical Chemistry journal.

“There’s a direct relationship between ethanol in blood and sweat. Through our research, we have shown that as an individual consumes alcoholic beverages, their blood alcohol levels increase at a similar pace to sweat alcohol levels. This finding could have significant implications for law enforcement to assess and prevent drunk driving,” Halamek said.

“The breathalyser test relies on non-specific electrochemical responses to determine the amount of alcohol circulating in blood based on the amount of ethanol in breath. This system is flawed and often not usable in court. With less errors, we believe our sensing strip would offer more versatility and accuracy and be applied for legal purposes,” he added.

At the moment, Halamek’s lab is working with IT experts to develop an application that will help in analysing the strip results and resolve any discrepancies.

Halamek is also working on other projects, for example a system that would allow users to unlock their devices using their sweat signatures.

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