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What exactly does a breathalyzer measure?

Last Updated: Nov 12, 2012 01:08PM PST
A breathalyzer gives an estimate of your blood alcohol content (BAC). BAC is most commonly used as a metric of intoxication for legal or medical purposes, and it's usually measured as mass per volum; for example, a BAC of 0.05% means 0.05 grams of alcohol per 100 grams of a person's blood, or 0.5 grams of alcohol per 1000 grams of blood.

Since factors like weight, muscle mass, and recently consumed food or beverages all affect the measurement of person's blood alcohol content (BAC), it's impossible to accurately measure intoxication level without a measurement tool like a breathalyzer.

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