The Effects of Endogenous Ethanol

Jones, Mardh, and Anggard, Determination of Endogenous Ethanol in Blood and Breath by Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectometry, 18 Pharmacology, Bid Chemistry and Behavior 267-272 (Supp 1, 1983)

David Rosenbloom a Salt Lake City DUI lawyer explains false alcohol readings.

Dave’s Plain English Summary / Synopsis: Human breath contains various substances that mimic ethanol/alcohol that fool Utah Intoxilyzers into reporting higher than actual BAC levels, and the safety “filters” built into the Intoxilyzers are not reliable for screening these compounds because they are numerous and varied, and the Intoxilyzer 5000’s only have one such filter, while the Intoxilyzer 8000’s contain three (3) filters for acetone and acetaldehyde.  This study establishes the existence of endogenous ethanol by use of GC-M.Spect; which translates into people having alcohol on their breath without drinking, as a by-product of digestion and mouth ph.

We describe methods for the determination of endogenous ethanol in biological specimens from healthy abstaining subjects. The analytical methods were headspace gas chromatography (GC) for plasma samples and gas chromatography-mass spectometry (GC/MS) with deuterium labelled species 2H3-ethanol and 2H5-ethanol as internal standards for breath analysis. Ethanol in rebreathed air was about 10% higher than in directly analysed end-expired alveolar air. Known volumes of rebreathed air were passed through a liquid-N2 freeze trap and the volatile constituents of breath were concentrated prior to analysis by GC or GC/MS. Besides endogenous ethanol, peaks were seen on the chromatograms for methanol, acetone and acetaldehyde as well as several as yet unidentified substances. The endogenous alcohols ethanol and methanol were confirmed from their mass chromatograms and the GC/MS profile also indicated the presence of endogenous propan-1-ol. The concentration of endogenous ethanol in plasma showed wide inter-subject variations ranging from below detection limits to 1.6 micrograms/ml (34.8 mumol/l) and with mean +/- SD of 0.39 +/- 0.45 micrograms/ml (8.5 +/- 9.8 mumol/l). We aim to characterise further the role of endogenous ethanol with the main focus on dynamic aspects such as the rate of formation and turnover.

Abstract courtesy of – A service of the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health


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