Breathalyzer alcohol test.

Chrisinmd

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So I work as a city bus driver. I'm subject to random drug / alcohol tests. I show up today at work and they hit me with a random test. I take the breathalyzer and it reads .011 bac. Since I am a commercial driver we have to be under .02 not the .08 that is the limit for regular drivers. So I was still under my .02 limit so I didn't get fired or anything but it was a bit embarrassing to explain to my employer why the test was showing I had any alcohol at all in my system.

I have not had a drop of alcohol since Sunday. 5 days ago. The only thing that I can think of causing the .011 bac was brushed my teeth and used mouthwash right before I went to work.
The mouthwash I used says alcohol free on the front. But when I look at the back label which lists what is in it has propylene glycol which is a form of alcohol from what I have read online.

So anybody ever have experience with something like this or have knowledge about this? Guess I also wanted to warn people mouthwash can mess with your breathalyzer results. It never crossed my mind that it could.
 

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So I work as a city bus driver. I'm subject to random drug / alcohol tests. I show up today at work and they hit me with a random test. I take the breathalyzer and it reads .011 bac. Since I am a commercial driver we have to be under .02 not the .08 that is the limit for regular drivers. So I was still under my .02 limit so I didn't get fired or anything but it was a bit embarrassing to explain to my employer why the test was showing I had any alcohol at all in my system.

I have not had a drop of alcohol since Sunday. 5 days ago. The only thing that I can think of causing the .011 bac was brushed my teeth and used mouthwash right before I went to work.
The mouthwash I used says alcohol free on the front. But when I look at the back label which lists what is in it has propylene glycol which is a form of alcohol from what I have read online.

So anybody ever have experience with something like this or have knowledge about this? Guess I also wanted to warn people mouthwash can mess with your breathalyzer results. It never crossed my mind that it could.
No. Propylene glycol will not show up in a breathalyzer. Unless the mouthwash has ethyl alcohol (and many do, it's why they burn) it will not affect a breathalyzer. Breathalyzers detect ethyl glucuronide, a metabolic byproduct of ethanol. Propylene glycol does not produce this metabolite, so it will not affect a breathalyzer.
 

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So I work as a city bus driver. I'm subject to random drug / alcohol tests. I show up today at work and they hit me with a random test. I take the breathalyzer and it reads .011 bac. Since I am a commercial driver we have to be under .02 not the .08 that is the limit for regular drivers. So I was still under my .02 limit so I didn't get fired or anything but it was a bit embarrassing to explain to my employer why the test was showing I had any alcohol at all in my system.

I have not had a drop of alcohol since Sunday. 5 days ago. The only thing that I can think of causing the .011 bac was brushed my teeth and used mouthwash right before I went to work.
The mouthwash I used says alcohol free on the front. But when I look at the back label which lists what is in it has propylene glycol which is a form of alcohol from what I have read online.

So anybody ever have experience with something like this or have knowledge about this? Guess I also wanted to warn people mouthwash can mess with your breathalyzer results. It never crossed my mind that it could.
OJ can also give a false positive, and I am assuming a number of other things.
In cases like that, it is good to have a swig of water before.
 
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Chrisinmd

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No. Propylene glycol will not show up in a breathalyzer. Unless the mouthwash has ethyl alcohol (and many do, it's why they burn) it will not affect a breathalyzer. Breathalyzers detect ethyl glucuronide, a metabolic byproduct of ethanol. Propylene glycol does not produce this metabolite, so it will not affect a breathalyzer.
Wonder what caused it then? I read online it could be some natural fermentation occuring as a side effect of digestion. I guess thats possible. ( I am being honest I have not drunk a drop of alcohol since Sunday. No reason to lie I am on a anonymous forum)
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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What did you eat/drink that day? Also certain illnesses (mainly gastro issues iirc) can cause a false positive on a breathalyzer.
 

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OJ can also give a false positive, and I am assuming a number of other things.
In cases like that, it is good to have a swig of water before.
Only if it's gone through the fermentation process. Drink a lot of spoiled OJ, do you?
Wonder what caused it then? I read online it could be some natural fermentation occuring as a side effect of digestion. I guess thats possible. ( I am being honest I have not drunk a drop of alcohol since Sunday. No reason to lie I am on a anonymous forum)
No way to tell. There are some dietary possibilities, as well as a rare disorder called Auto-Brewery Syndrome in which a dysfunction in the small bowel leads to the body fermenting carbohydrates and producing ethanol.
 

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So I work as a city bus driver. I'm subject to random drug / alcohol tests. I show up today at work and they hit me with a random test. I take the breathalyzer and it reads .011 bac. Since I am a commercial driver we have to be under .02 not the .08 that is the limit for regular drivers. So I was still under my .02 limit so I didn't get fired or anything but it was a bit embarrassing to explain to my employer why the test was showing I had any alcohol at all in my system.

I have not had a drop of alcohol since Sunday. 5 days ago. The only thing that I can think of causing the .011 bac was brushed my teeth and used mouthwash right before I went to work.
The mouthwash I used says alcohol free on the front. But when I look at the back label which lists what is in it has propylene glycol which is a form of alcohol from what I have read online.

So anybody ever have experience with something like this or have knowledge about this? Guess I also wanted to warn people mouthwash can mess with your breathalyzer results. It never crossed my mind that it could.
This really distresses me. I feel bad for you, I really do. Had the same thing happen to me on a drug test years ago because I ate three poppy seed muffins the morning of the test. Nearly cost me my career.

I know nothing of breathalyzers. But reading this makes me not trust them as much as I did a few minutes ago. I'm interested if anyone has more insight into this.
 

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Depends on what they are using to test you. There are a lot of different devices, with different levels of accuracy and reliability, especially if they're not being calibrated regularly. Most quick devices use a fuel cell, which only creates electricity from alcohol.

It takes about 10 to 12 minutes for alcohol to evaporate from the mouth, and burps or other actions that might bring alcohol to the mouth from your stomach restart that clock. Your body clears about 1 drink or .015 percent alcohol per hour (I usually use 3% per 2 hours for easier math....), subject to a number of factors.

There are also rare people who really do generate inyheir body, but that's typically only around .002%.

Before they take adverse action against you, you should get an evidentiary level test... but that's starting into legal advice.
 

granfire

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Only if it's gone through the fermentation process. Drink a lot of spoiled OJ, do you?

No way to tell. There are some dietary possibilities, as well as a rare disorder called Auto-Brewery Syndrome in which a dysfunction in the small bowel leads to the body fermenting carbohydrates and producing ethanol.
My info is dated
And some devices are more sensitive than others.

However
I just recently learned that hair testing for alcohol is a thing (complicated issue I am sure) and hair products can give a false positive.
 

Graywalker

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It's weird that these things are still being used, kind of like drug dogs being used. It's a shot in the dark and is dependent upon the tester.
 
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Chrisinmd

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This really distresses me. I feel bad for you, I really do. Had the same thing happen to me on a drug test years ago because I ate three poppy seed muffins the morning of the test. Nearly cost me my career.
How many poppy seed muffins did you eat? I have heard about that possibly showing up as you smoking weed on a drug test. But thought it was just a excuse people used or that you would have to eat a whole dozen poppy seed muffins to get a positive result.

So how did you convince your employer it was false and save your career?
 
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Chrisinmd

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Only if it's gone through the fermentation process. Drink a lot of spoiled OJ, do you?
So spoiled Oj. But I do ferment my own hot sauce. I think I had it for lunch right like a half hour before the breathlyzer. Maybe the fermentation process for my hot sauce produced some alcohol. Possible?
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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So spoiled Oj. But I do ferment my own hot sauce. I think I had it for lunch right like a half hour before the breathlyzer. Maybe the fermentation process for my hot sauce produced some alcohol. Possible?
It wouldn't produce alcohol, but acid reflux can cause previous alcohol to come back up far enough to be read by a breathalyzer. Won't do it to a degree that most would get in trouble for it, but considering it was a very low reading it's possible that eating something with hot sauce triggered a bit of acid reflux causing the result.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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How many poppy seed muffins did you eat? I have heard about that possibly showing up as you smoking weed on a drug test. But thought it was just a excuse people used or that you would have to eat a whole dozen poppy seed muffins to get a positive result.

So how did you convince your employer it was false and save your career?
The simple answer, from my research from about two years ago, is that you could eat a dozen poppy seed muffins and not get a positive for opiate, or you could eat one muffin, get unlucky with the poppy seeds and show up positive. Numbers are typically low for this. And it would never show up as weed.
 

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How many poppy seed muffins did you eat? I have heard about that possibly showing up as you smoking weed on a drug test. But thought it was just a excuse people used or that you would have to eat a whole dozen poppy seed muffins to get a positive result.

So how did you convince your employer it was false and save your career
This is going to be a long story….but it’s a pretty good story.

Poppy seeds give a positive result, but not for weed....read on, brother, it's nuts.

I ate three lemon poppy seed muffins at noontime after teaching a morning class to police officers at my dojo. Went into work (4-12 shift) knowing my yearly physical at work would be that night.

About a week later, Christmas Eve day, actually, there’s a message on my answering machine. I was scheduled to work Christmas, I always worked Christmas because I don’t have kids, wanted the guys with kids to have the day off.

I play the message and it’s my boss, who I’m close with. I can tell by his voice something is wrong. He says “Ah, yeah, don’t report to work tomorrow, please meet me by the main entrance on Monday morning.”

I’m looking at the answering machine thinking, “Uh oh, this ain’t good.”

When you consume poppy seeds and get drug tested while they are in your system you will test positive for Heroin, Morphine and ALL opiates. Read that again, that’s God honest truth. Trust me on this, I wish I didn’t know.

My boss immediately called the drug company and said this couldn’t be. He said “the guy’s our DT instructor, he works double shifts training guys and never slows down. If you told me he tested positive for amphetamines I could maybe believe it - but have you ever seen people on heroin? This just doesn’t make sense.”

They assured him it was correct. That all test samples are split in two. Any positive test and the other half of the sample is sent to another lab for verification. It got the same result. And this doesn’t fall under the umbrella of a “false positive” poppy seeds test that way, they come from the poppy plant.

My boss was heartbroken. He told me what was up when I met him that morning. My jaw dropped. I said “WTF, heroin? And who the hell does morphine? Are you shipping me, you know this is wrong, this is crazy.”

They allowed me to resign. Cleared the floor when I cleaned out my two lockers (I had one for uniforms and one for workout clothes/training equipment) to spare me embarrassment in front of the other officers.

I’m in a state of shock riding the commuter line home. My career in police work is over. And you know how word gets out, how many leaks there are in that business. And I also run a dojo, and there’s a kids class. I’m thinking “everyone is going to hear about this. That I take heroin."

This was back in the day. A year later there was actually an episode on Steinfield about this. So, anyway, I get home and call my wife at work. After a minute she says, “hey, wait a minute, I read an article in the paper a couple years ago about a cop who tested positive from a poppy seed bagel.

So I go to the bakery above my dojo, get the batter they use for the muffins, get the muffins themselves, put on a suit and a tie and head to the drug lab which is a few towns away from me.

I’m met at the door by security, I tell them I want to speak to the Director. But the Director takes Christmas week off. I tell them my tale of woe and said this place has ruined my life, I need to speak to somebody.

The security guys, bless their heart, said “C’mon” and bring me into the lab (which is a big no no)

I meet the head lab guy, Rick Schmidline. I’m carrying my bag of muffin batter and bag of muffins. As I start to tell him my tale he interrupts me and says “Of course it tested positive, it’s poppy seeds.” Goes on to tell me “If corporate America and Law Enforcement actually read all the info we send them as a courtesy they would have known this."

He tested the batter, emulsified (?) the muffins, all tested positive for Heroin, all tested positive for ALL opiates, all tested positive for Morphine. He also gave me a urine test, tested it, clean, and gave me that. He wrote up a detailed report, signed it and gave it to me. He also gave me some phone numbers - Dr Carl Slavaka, Head of National Health Institute in Wilkes Bare Pennsylvania and Captain David Smith, Chief Toxicology Officer of all Armed Services personnel. Captain Smith was stationed at Tripler Medical Center, Honolulu Hawaii.

I remember all these names because they were all wonderful and helped me a great deal. Capt Smith said “You have a fax machine at your disposal?” I said I did. He said “put a big bin in front of it, I’ll fax you the history of this, maybe your department will learn something.”

I requested a hearing at work, and was granted one. At every entrance to our secure facility was a clip board, pics of people who were not allowed into the building unless escorted by a Captain. My pic was at the top of the list. All the guys called me at home, I told them I can't tell you anything yet. They told me the rumors were flying - "I beat somebody up, I threw somebody out a window, I was banging the boss's wife. I told them it was all BS. Told them I'd get back to them.

Mary F, who was the VP over my section head (my boss’s boss) heard my case. I presented her with all the paperwork, including a notarized letter, on official Boston PD stationary, from the half dozen cops in my class the day I ate the muffins and was tested. Also a notarized statement from the bakery owner saying he served them to me. And I knew the exact date because every student of every class, including the morning class, has to sign in before stepping onto the workout area.

Man, was she mad. Not at me, at the drug company. She told me she had called them as well as my section head, and was assured the tests were reliable. I told her, “yeah, but what I learned at the testing facility is the person(s) you spoke to were salesmen who sell the program, not anyone who actually works in the lab. This guy here, I pointed to Rick who helped in the lab - he says the salesmen have never set foot in the actual lab, probably don’t even know where it is.”

She told me, “I will deal with them later. I’m so sorry for what you went through. You’ll be immediately reinstated, get your back pay of course. On a personal note, Buka, you look horrible. I bet you haven’t been sleeping well. I told her, no I really haven’t. She said, “Would like a week off with pay so you can rest up?” I said, Gee, Mary, two would be better.” (I figured, why not give it a shot) She said, “Done. Go home, rest up, see you in a couple of weeks.”

To finish this crazy story, I was to keep my mouth shut about what happened. I follow orders, you have to in any rank and file system. I privately protested to the boss, telling him “you have to let the guys know, it might happen again to one of them.” But there's more than one way to skin a cat. Or a boss.

A year later…..a couple weeks before Christmas, the day shift always has a little Christmas party where everyone brings in food from home. Wednesdays is an overlap day, there’s more cops on duty than any other day - Four day work week guys, five day work week guys, part timers, everyone. Physicals are also right around Christmas time.

I brought in one gross of lemon poppy seed muffins. One hundred and forty four of those suckers , fresh baked easy that morning, and told the guys you gotta try these, they’re great!” (Heh, heh, heh) Command staff had no choice but to rescheduled the physicals and informed all officers and staff about poppy seeds and failed drug tests.

Every time I see poppy seeds, my mind goes back to that crazy time.
 

geezer

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... Physicals are also right around Christmas time.

I brought in one gross of lemon poppy seed muffins. One hundred and forty four of those suckers , fresh baked easy that morning, and told the guys you gotta try these, they’re great!” (Heh, heh, heh) Command staff had no choice but to rescheduled the physicals and informed all officers and staff about poppy seeds and failed drug tests. Every time I see poppy seeds, my mind goes back to that crazy time.
Wow! A great story. Buka, with all your connections, I'm amazed this hasn't been made into a TV episode somewhere. You gotta share this with some screenwriters. Seriously.
 

Buka

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Wow! A great story. Buka, with all your connections, I'm amazed this hasn't been made into a TV episode somewhere. You gotta share this with some screenwriters. Seriously.
They did do an episode on Seinfeld about it, about a year after that happened to me. It was just a small, throwaway side plot. I think it was Elaine who failed the test.

It would be old news nowadays. But I tell ya, drug tests still scare me. You know how history likes to repeat itself. I sure hope it ain't with me.
 

granfire

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They did do an episode on Seinfeld about it, about a year after that happened to me. It was just a small, throwaway side plot. I think it was Elaine who failed the test.

It would be old news nowadays. But I tell ya, drug tests still scare me. You know how history likes to repeat itself. I sure hope it ain't with me.
If anything they only become more sensitive to everything.
I guess there is a reason you can barely get poppy anything around here....test positive without the buzz?
I heard many years ago that Austrian chefs got in trouble for trying to bring poppy seeds into some Arabian country where they worked for the Embassy. They planned to make the national delicacy of 'Mohnstrudle'
If a few seeds in the batter make you come up hot, imagine pastry with a thick paste of the stuff!
 
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