Alcohol in the Workplace – Considering The Alcohol Saliva Test Vs Breathalyzer Tests

Which is more accurate and cost-effective for your business?

Studies show that more and more U.S. employers are implementing alcohol abuse policies to help ensure the safety and well-being of all their employees. The reasons for alcohol testing in the workplace are numerous: higher Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) directly impairs reaction times and judgment, which hurts work performance. In fact, alcohol levels as low as .02% can lessen our capacity to reason, making it difficult to plan ahead or respond appropriately to one’s immediate surroundings. Regardless of the reasons you are interested in testing for alcohol in the workplace, one concern you may be wondering about is which testing option is best for you.

Employers’ two most common types of alcohol testing are done with the alcohol saliva test or breathalyzer testing. In the content below, we’ll cover the benefits and potential drawbacks of both these testing methods to help you make the best decision for your business.

About the Alcohol Saliva Test

Most people may not know that saliva actually originates from within the blood. Accordingly, the alcohol in the bloodstream can be detected in the individual’s saliva by using a Saliva Alcohol Test. These tests are quick and just as reliable as a breath alcohol test, with a few other benefits. During the testing process, the individual must place a swab covered with a harmless substance that reacts to the saliva in their mouth. After a few minutes, or until the swab is completely saturated with saliva, the swab is removed, and the test is complete.

If alcohol is present, a colored stripe will appear on the indicator. If the swab shows no colored stripe, the test is deemed “negative” for alcohol. However, if you have any doubts, it is always a good idea to have lab confirmation.

About the Breathalyzer Test

Research has also shown a direct correlation between a person’s BAC and their breathing. In the respiration process, oxygen is exchanged from the lungs to the blood each time we inhale. During the exhaling process, we exchange it for Carbon Dioxide mixed with the alcohol (gas) in the blood to be carried out of the lungs in the exhaled breath. With that in mind, that is where the Breath Alcohol Test can come into play by showing the level of alcohol in the person’s body system by simply doing what comes naturally, breathing.

So, Which is Best for You?

Both tests are capable of providing an instant result and provide data indicating the subjects’ BAC level. Both tests are also designed to detect alcohol already consumed by the test subject and is present in the blood. These two methods rely on defined ratios to calculate the equivalent blood alcohol concentration based on the levels detected in either the saliva or breath, respectively.

However, alcohol can be detected up to 24 hours later with a breathalyzer test, compared to a saliva test which has a detection time of 1 to 5 days, depending on the level of alcohol consumed. If the longevity of the test is important to you, a saliva test may be the better option. Additionally, breath or saliva tests can be used to detect the specific quantity of alcohol that a suspected alcoholic may have recently ingested.

Despite the benefits of both tests, the most common way to test alcohol is with a breathalyzer. A non-intrusive method that can indirectly measure BAC, police officers usually use it to test drivers if they suspect alcohol is involved.

Rapid Detect Conclusion

At Rapid Detect, we are committed to being your best choice for quality, low cost drug testing supplies. If you’re interested in Alcohol testing, or any other drug testing kits, we invite you to contact our team to help answer questions, ease concerns, and point you in the direction of the best product for your needs!