Metrological traceability of the breath alcohol measurements
Abstract views: 63
PDF Downloads: 20
PDF Downloads: 40

ARTICLE PDF (Ukrainian)


breath analysers
measurement standard
gas mixture generator
calibration gas mixture
metrological traceability
reference materials

How to Cite

Rozhnov, M., Petryshyn, P., & Levbarg, O. (2022). Metrological traceability of the breath alcohol measurements. Measurements Infrastructure, (3).


Breath alcohol measurements are widely used worldwide to detect the presence of alcohol in the human body. For those measurements, different metrological traceability chains are used, both in the international normative documents and at the national level. Different measurement standards used to calibrate breath analysers reproduce different quantities: on the one hand, an «actual» ethanol mass concentration, and, on the other hand, the operationally defined «ethanol mass concentration by Dubowski (or Harger)». This makes the comparability of the breath alcohol measurements questionable. According to various studies, the discrepancy between the operationally defined quantity and the concentration not related to the empirical interphase distribution coefficients, lays within (1-2) %, although there is also an evidence of a larger deviation. It is possible to construct a common metrological traceability chain by using reference gas mixtures in cylinders and dynamic gas mixture generators based on the principles not related to empirical equations, as well as determining more accurately the interphase distribution coefficient and evaluating its uncertainty. SE «Ukrmetrteststandart» possesses internationally recognised calibration and measurement capabilities for measuring ethanol concentration and producing reference materials: calibration gas mixtures of ethanol with nitrogen or air in cylinders and reference aqueous solutions of ethanol that provide metrological traceability for the breath alcohol measurements.
ARTICLE PDF (Ukrainian)


NHTSA. Traffic Safety Facts. Research Note. DOT HS 812 826.

European road users' risk perception and mobility. The SARTRE 4 survey. sartre4_final_report.pdf (

Statistics of the Patrol Police of Ukraine [Статистика Патрульної поліції України]. [In Ukrainian]

JCGM 200:2012 International vocabulary of metrology — Basic and general concepts and associated terms (VIM). 3rd edition.

ISO Guide 30:2015 Reference materials — Selected terms and definitions.

ISO 6142-1:2015 Gas analysis — Preparation of calibration gas mixtures — Part 1. Gravimetric method for Class I mixtures.

ISO 14167:2018 Gas analysis — General quality aspects and metrological traceability of calibration gas mixtures.

Rozhnov Mykhaylo, Levbarg Ovsiy 2007 A way of establishing quality of measurements in gas analysis — national and international aspects. Accreditation and Quality Assurance. 12 (8), pp. 415-417. DOI:

De Bievre Paul, Dybkaer Rene, Faigelj Aleš and Hibbert D. Brynn 2011 Metrological traceability of measurement results in chemistry: concepts and implementation (IUPAC Technical Report). Pure Appl. Chem. Vol 83, no 10, pp. 1873-1935.

Rozhnov M., Melnyk D., Levbarg O. 2017 Metrological Traceability of Measurements Results for Gas Mixtures Components Content [Метрологічна простежуваність результатів вимірювання вмісту компонентів у газових сумішах]. Metrology and instruments. no 6, pp. 25-31. [In Ukrainian]

OIML R126:2012 Evidential breath analysers.

Ellison S. L. R. and Williams A (Eds) 2019 Eurachem/CITAC Guide: Metrological Traceability in Analytical measurement. 2nd ed. ISBN: 978-0-948926-34-1.

ISO 17034:2016 General requirements for the competence of reference material producers.

Brown R. J. C., Andres H. 2020 How should metrology bodies treat method-defined measurands? Accred. Qual. Assur. 25, pp. 161-166.

CCQM 2019 Report of the CCQM task group on method-defined measurands.

OIML R126:2021 Evidential breath analysers.

EN 15964:2011 Breath alcohol test devices other than single use devices — Requirements and test methods.

EN 16280:2012 Breath alcohol test devices for general public — Requirements and test methods.

EN 50436-1:2014 Alcohol interlocks — Test methods and performance requirements — Part 1: Instruments for drink-driving-offender programs.

Vaz D., Castanheira I., Fino H., AMH van der Veen 2001 Breath analysers: Implementation of traceability in Portugal. OIML Bulletin. Vol. XLII, no 2.

Dias Florbela A., Farinha Tânia, Dias Fátima and Filipe Eduarda 2009 Calibration and verification of breath alcohol detectors in Portugal. XIX IMEKO World Congress Fundamental and Applied Metrology. Lisbon, Portugal.

Knopf Dorothea 2007 Traceability system for breath-alcohol measurements in Germany. OIML Bulletin. Vol. XLVIII, no 2.

Anghel Mirela-Adelaida and Prof. Iacobescu Fanel 2013 Quality assurance of breath alcohol measurements. OIML Bulletin. Vol. LIV, no 2.

Bennett Judith 2004 Legal Traceability of Breath Alcohol Measurements. Handbook on Traceability in Legal Metrology, pp. 105-112. ISBN 4-9901968-0-5.

Hibbert D Brynn 2006 Metrological traceability: I make it 42; you make it 42; but is it the same 42? Accreditation and Quality Assurance. DOI:

Janko Piotr, Kordulasiński Robert, Wasilewska Jolanta, Lenard Elżbieta 2018 Wzorcowanie analizatorów wydechu za pomocą wytwarzanych in situ wilgotnych wzorców gazowych. Metrologia i Probiernictwo — Biuletyn Głównego Urzędu Miar. 2 (21), pp. 16-25. [In Polish]

Kordulasiński Robert, Wasilewska Jolanta, Kolasiński Piotr, Lenard Elżbieta, Janko Piotr and Ochman Grzegorz 2016 Measuring facilities for testing breath analyzers in Poland. OIML Bulletin. Vol. LVII, no 3. [In Polish]

GOST R 8.676-2009 State system for ensuring the unity of measurements. State verification chart for the instruments measuring ethanol content in gaseous and liquid media [ГОСТ Р 8.676-2009 Государственная система обеспечения единства измерений. Государственная поверочная схема для средств измерений содержания этанола в газовых и жидких средах]. Standartinform. Moscow. [In Russian]

DSTU 3214:2015 Metrology. State verification chart for the instruments measuring component content in gaseous media [ДСТУ 3214:2015 Метрологія. Державна повірочна схема для засобів вимірювання вмісту компонентів у газових середовищах]. Kyiv, SE «UkrNDNTs». [In Ukrainian]

Dubowski K. M and Essary N. A. 1996 Vapor-alcohol control tests with compressed ethanol-gas mixtures: scientific basis and actual performance. J. Anal. Toxicol. Vol. 20, pp. 484-491.

Silverman L. D., Wong K., Miller S. 1997 Confirmation of ethanol compressed gas standard concentrations by an NIST-traceable, absolute chemical method and comparison with wet breath alcohol simulators. J. Anal. Toxicol. Vol. 21, pp. 369-372.

Pratzler Sonja, Knopf Dorothea, Ulbig Peter und Scholl Stephan 2010 Aufbau eines Generators zur dynamisch-gravimetrischen Herstellung von Atemalkohol-Kalibriergasgemischen. Chemie Ingenieur Technik. 82, no 10. [In German] DOI:

Aseev Oleg, Tuzson Béla, Looser Herbert, Scheidegger Philipp, Liu Chang, Morstein Carina, Niederhauser Bernhard, and Emmenegger Lukas 2019 High-precision ethanol measurement by mid-IR laser absorption spectroscopy for metrological applications. Optics Express. Vol. 27, no 4, pp. 5314-5325. DOI:

Stalder M., Schwaller D., Niederhauser B., Andres H., and Wunderli S. 2013 New calibration system for breath-alcohol analysers based on SI. Chimia (Aarau). 67 (12), p. 922.

Gullberg R. G. 2005 Determining the air/water partition coefficient to employ when calibrating forensic breath alcohol test instruments. Canadian Soc. Forensic Sci. J. 38 (4), pp. 205-212.

Konopelko L. A., Efremova O. V., Fatina O. V., Orshanskaia A. A., Rozhnov M. S., Melnyk D. M. and Petryshyn P. V. 2016 COOMET.QM-K93 (COOMET 615/RU/13): key comparison in the field of measuring of the ethanol amount fraction in nitrogen (120 μmol/ mol) [COOMET QM-K93 (COOMET 615/RU/13): ключові звірення в галузі вимірювання молярної частки етанолу в азоті (120 μmol/mol)]. Metrologia. 53. [In Ukrainian] DOI:

Do Rego E. C. P. et al. 2019 Final Report on Key Comparison SIM. QM-K27: Ethanol in Aqueous Matrix. Metrologia. 56. DOI:

CIPM KCDB database.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Download data is not yet available.