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Why Mouth Alcohol Can Cause a Falsely Elevated Breath Alcohol Reading on the Breath Machine

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The mucous lining of the mouth cavity and nasal passages stores alcohol for some time after a person consumes alcohol. Normal body processes eliminate residual mouth alcohol within 15 minutes. Therefore, observe a subject for at least 15 minutes before performing a test. During the observation time, the subject may not eat, drink, or introduce any substance into his mouth. Furthermore, if the subject regurgitates, note the time and delay starting a breath test for at least 15 minutes.
[CMI, Inc., Basic Maintenance and Repair of the Intoxilyzer Breath Analysis Instrument, 10/1/84, p. 44.]

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