New Study: Latest Version of Intoxilyzer Doesn't Work Properly

Posted On October 22, 2009 by Charles Ramsay

Dr. Alfred Staubus, a nationally renowned forensic scientist from Ohio reports the new issue of the Journal of Analytical Toxicology (Volume 33, No. 8, October 2009) has an interesting article about the Intoxilyzer 8000. The 8000 is a DWI breath test machine (some say breathalyzer) and successor to the Intoxilyzer 5000, Minnesota's breath test machine.

Dr. Staubus says the forensic science treatise published the results of a scientific study that demonstrates the Intoxilyzer 8000 has a poor ability to detect mouth alcohol.

To be scientifically valid and reliable, DWI breath tests must detect mouth alcohol in test subjects. Otherwise, the test result will read erroneously high. See Professor Harley Myler's Affidavit for more information.

In the study, a total of 23 breath-alcohol profiles were collected from subjects blowing into the machine every 5 minutes for 2 hours immediately following drinking. The INVALID SAMPLE indicator of mouth alcohol was only actuated in 5 of the 23 cases. And in those 5 cases the INVALID SAMPLE indicator only appeared during the first sample.

Table II shows the Intoxilyzer 8000 failed to actuate the INVALID SAMPLE response to mouth alcohol even when test result was elevated by as much as 0.127 g/210 L over the subsequent breath test result.

Authors (James Watterson and Kayla Ellefsen from the Forensic Toxicology Research Laboratory in Canada) also collected blood samples from these subjects.

Within a limited breath volume range of 2 to 3 liters, the author found the precision of the test results to be insensitive to breath sample volume. Considering that the minimum acceptable volume for the Intoxilyzer 8000 is 1.1 liters and many subjects, when told by officers to "keep blowing, keep blowing, ...", can blow in excess of 4 or 5 liters, the small range of 2 to 3 liters and the limited number of samples was apparently designed not to detect differences due to breath volume that others have already demonstrated.

Authors concluded that (1) the Intoxilyzer 8000 generally underestimates the venous BAC and (2) "it is clear a mandatory delay before breath testing commences should be enforced to minimize the likelihood of falsely elevated BAC measurements." According to Staubus, however, they avoided concluding anything in regard to possible mouth alcohol contamination from Gastric Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).

Readers may purchase the article on-line or the entire October edition.

Dr. Staubus is a national consultant who consults with the Ramsay Law Firm on forensic science issues.

In my opinion, CMI, the Intoxilyzer manufacturer, could not get it right in the Intoxilyzer 5000 and they still cannot get it right in the 8000. This machine does not produce accurate, reliable or valid results.

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