When thinking about alcohol testing, what do you consider as an acceptable method? Do you prefer breathalyzer tests? Too expensive! Maybe something less digital like the AlcoCheck02? Efficient, but not everyone is going to be that cooperative all the time. What about checking for alcohol by simply testing the saliva from someone who has been drinking? That can be done at a great price that won’t bust your budget. If you’ve never heard of or used an Alco-Screen before, maybe after reading this you will be willing to try it out.
Alco-Screen is a simple two-minute test that will estimate the Blood
Alcohol Concentration (BAC) at the 0.00%, 0.02%, 0.04%, 0.08% and 0.3% levels using human saliva. Results are used in the diagnosis of alcohol use or intoxication. For in vitro diagnostic use only, this test consists of a plastic strip with a test pad (containing tetramethylbenzidine, alcohol oxidase, peroxidase, and other non-active ingredients) attached at the tip that will react with alcohol in saliva. In doing so, the indicator on the strip will change to shades of green-gray to blue depending on the presence of and amount of alcohol detected.
The steps in performing this test are pretty easy, although there are some things you need to make sure before you begin:
- The person taking the test should not place anything in his or her mouth for at least 15 minutes prior to testing.
- Perform the test in an alcohol-free area due to the fact it’s a very sensitive test that will react if there are alcohol vapors present in the air.
- Remove the test package from the box and let it reach room temperature.
- For best results, you should only open the package immediately before testing.
- Immediately after opening, inspect the test pad to make sure it’s a cream color. If the test pad is tan or otherwise discolored, it’s highly advised that you do not use the test.
Before you begin the procedure, you need to decide how you will collect the sample. Are you going to take the sample right out of the person’s mouth or are you going to use a collection cup? If you are using a collection cup/sputum cup, please make sure of the following for specimen collection and handling:
- Make sure the container you want to collect the saliva sample in is clean/sterile.
- You must collect enough saliva to completely wet the test pad.
- Don’t place anything into the saliva sample to prevent making false results.
- Once you verify the previous steps, you can start the procedure.
After you’ve made up your mind about the sample collection, you can move onto the testing process.
- Simply dip the test pad with saliva to get it wet for at least 5 seconds before removing.
- Start the timer immediately following the removal of the test strip.
- After 2 minutes have passed, you can then compare the resulting color of test pad to the color chart on the test package. However, be advised that if you wait longer than 2 minutes, 30 seconds, the results may not be as accurate.
- Finally, you should be able to estimate the BAC by reading the number printed below the color block that matches your test pad.
The test results will either display as negative or positive, but to what degree? If the result shows up as negative, the test pad shows no color change and matches the negative color block on the foil package. If the result shows up as positive, the test pad shows a color change from light green-gray color at 0.02% BAC to a dark blue-gray color near 0.30% BAC. For accuracy purposes, it’s recommended you do not read the results under a mercury or sodium vapor light as they may cause colors from positive samples to appear differently and cause higher test results.
If for some reason you question the performance of a test strip, you can execute another test to check for quality assurance purposes. If you have a small amount of alcohol that is at least 80 proof, insert 4 to 5 drops of it into a cup of plain ordinary tap water. Perform the testing procedure again using this mixture and wait 2 minutes again. Remember, after 2 and a half minutes, the results lose accuracy. That’s why we can’t stress enough on the importance of using a timer while performing this test. The result should be at least equaled to, if not higher (darker) than, the 0.04% color block.
We’re not saying that a test can’t go wrong. There are other factors that could come into play should you get a faulty test, such as not keeping it stored between 50ºF (10ºC) to 80ºF (27 ºC) degrees, poor manufacturing, or by interference by outside substances such as:
Substance Concentration (% v/v)
1-Butanol (Butyl Alcohol) 0.0006%
The reasons for this kind of testing are quite obvious. The more a person drinks the greater chances they have of causing harm. Too much alcohol consumption can be hazardous to one’s health; it can even result in death. Excessive alcohol use was reported to have led to about 88,000 deaths and 2.5 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) each year in
the United States from 2006 – 2010. Excessive drinking includes binge drinking, heavy drinking, and any drinking by pregnant women or people under 21 years of age. In 2012, drunk driving accounted for 31% of all traffic fatalities. Six out of ten alcohol-involved fatal crashes involved high BAC drivers that could have been prevented should the drunk driver had been checked before getting behind the wheel.
In a recent report, according to a Vital Signs report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are six people in the U.S. that die from alcohol poisoning each day. Another bold revelation is that most people who die of alcohol poisoning are men (76%). Additionally, it says that the high bulk of these deaths among whites and American Indians/Alaska Natives are consistent with high levels of binge drinking in these groups. Using the new evidence, researchers also found that:
- Three-quarters of alcohol poisoning deaths occurred between the ages 35 to 64 years.
- Alcohol dependence was a contributing factor in 30% of the deaths.
- Hypothermia contributed to 6% of alcohol-related deaths.
- Alcohol dependence was identified as a factor in 30% of alcohol poisoning deaths.
- US adults who binge drink consume an average of about 8 drinks per binge, which can result in even higher levels of alcohol in the body.
Reports from studies and surveys like these are why more businesses are implementing an alcohol-free policy for their employees. There are already programs and policies to reduce binge drinking in place with many U.S. state along with Federal agencies. It’s been proven that states with a stronger alcohol policy have a considerable amount less binge drinking. However, just having a policy in place just isn’t enough. You have to enforce that alcohol policy as well. The Alco-Screen testing strips can help you do that.
The Alco-Screen test strips are used by police departments, doctor offices who want to screen and counsel their patients, health care facilities to monitor their residents, small and large business, schools (sports and other extra-curricular), and by parents who are concerned about their children’s activities. Basically, they can be used by anyone without having any special training. If you know how to “dip” a chip into salsa, you can operate this type of test.
Once you try it, you’ll appreciate the convenience of having the ability to check for alcohol anywhere and anytime provided by the Alco-Screen test. Many of our clients like this product because not only can you check for alcohol in saliva; you’ll also be able to detect it in some other fluids too! Let’s not forget to mention that it is CLIA Waived and FDA Cleared. When you purchase the Alco-Screen from us, you will receive the following:
- 24 individually packaged tests per box
- 1 Alco-Screen test strip per foil package
- 1 Instructional sheet
- Shelf-life of 10 to 12 months
If you are looking for a very reliable alcohol test, then look no farther than the Alco-Screen brand of products. If you have any worries or questions, just call to speak with one of our very friendly knowledgeable sales consultants at (888) 040-0020 weekdays from 8 am to 4 pm CDT or send them an email to [email protected] with your questions or concerns anytime. We look forward to helping you with any of the products we sell. We don’t look at you just as a client, but as a partner in the fight against drugs and alcohol abuse. A safe environment is a healthy one.