Breath mints can beat the breath analyser test

Posted on: December 13, 2008

The Myth

Many people reportedly to have beaten breath analyser tests by eating breath mints, which somehow managed to foil attempts by the police to catch drink drivers. There are actually many variations to this story. Some people profess sucking on a copper coin helps since it leave a copper alloy residue in your mouth that confuses the machine. So is this true or not?

Breath Mint

Breath Mint

The Truth

Firstly, we need to know how the breath analyser gadget works. For those who never saw a breath analyser before, here it is.

Breath Analyser

Breath Analyser

A breath analyser contains a mouthpiece, a tube where you blow air in and a sample chamber where the air goes. It uses a chemical reaction involving alcohol that produ­ces a color change and the degree of the color change is directly related to the level of alcohol in the expelled air. The breath sample is bubbled in one vial through a mixture of sulfuric acid, potassium dichromate, silver nitrate and water. The sulphuric acid removes the alcohol from the air and then the alcohol reacts with potassium dichromate to produce:

  • chromium sulfate
  • potassium sulfate
  • acetic acid
  • water

For those of you who don’t understand the mumbo jumbo chemical reactions above, don’t be intimidated. Basically, the breath analyser shows up colors if you consume alcohol.

Sucking on a copper coin does not work because the copper coating of the coin does not affect the amount of alcohol content in your breath. The copper residue is not so strong that it will screw the machine up to thinking that there is no alcohol content in your breath. In the United States, coins are actually made of zinc (up to 97%) and then coated with copper. With only 3% copper, how can one reasonably think that this can help them to escape the long arms of law?

As for breath mints, they sure help to mask the smell of your breath. However, they do not remove the alcohol that is already present. In a nutshell, what this means is that although the police cannot smell it, the machine can still detect it, as it does not work on smell.

As for why this myth of breath mints perpetuate to this day, there may be several reasons. One is that people often have the idea that the smell of booze is the chief indicator of booze intake. Another reason is that there may be negligent cops that simply judge things on face value. In fact, this misconception is so widespread that in 1997, a British company tried to cash in on this, by introducing a breath mint that is advertised to be able to beat breath analyser test.

Last words

In my opinion, drink drivers ought to be punished. Not only they are endangering other people’s lives, they are toying with their own. Please, for anyone reads this, do not drink and drive, for the sake of yourself, those who loved you and those who you love. Take care of yourselves.

Car Crash

Car Crash

Verdict: BUSTED!!!!!!

Case Solved

Case Solved

Do you agree with this verdict? Reflect your views in the poll below!


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