Breath Alcohol Content (BrAC)

Definition - What does Breath Alcohol Content (BrAC) mean?

Breath alcohol content (BrAC) describes the level of ethanol alcohol present in a person's breath. This level is measured using a breath alcohol device that calculates the amount of alcohol present in a person's expelled breath. These devices work by making calculations based on laboratory studies that have determined the relationship to alcohol in the breath to alcohol in the blood.

Breath alcohol content is also referred to as breath alcohol concentration.

WorkplaceTesting explains Breath Alcohol Content (BrAC)

A person's breath alcohol content may be measured using one of several different devices. Because it is non-invasive, breath alcohol testing devices are often used for alcohol screening tests. These breath alcohol screening devices can provide prompt results for testers.

Once a person consumes alcohol, the substance enters his or her blood stream at a predictable rate. Likewise, the alcohol is expelled through the lungs at a known rate per volume consumed. By measuring the amount of alcohol contained in a person's breath sample, the amount of alcohol present in the person's bloodstream can be calculated. A standard formula is then used to convert this number to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measurement. Because this conversion process is automatically performed by the measuring device, the terms BrAC and BAC are often used interchangeably.

A more sophisticated breath alcohol device may then be used to confirm an initial positive result. For workplace testing in compliance with the Department of Transportation alcohol testing program, an evidential breath testing (EBT) device must be used. For workplace testing, a breath alcohol technician (BAT) will be present to administer the breath alcohol test.

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