In continuing with my series of blogs on Driving While Intoxicated and blood testing, this blog will focus on the problem of fermentation within the blood sample collection tube. I previously explained that the collection tube is supposed to contain two chemicals – an anticoagulant and an anti-fermentation chemical. Preventing fermentation in collection tube is critical because if the sugar in the blood ferments into alcohol, that will obviously result in an erroneously high blood alcohol concentration result.
The collection tubes are therefore required to contain a preservative to prevent fermentation. Sodium fluoride is the most common preservative used and is the preservative used by NIK Public Safety, Inc. who manufactures the blood collection kits most commonly used by law enforcement agencies. NIK makes two kits; one contains 20mg of sodium fluoride and the other contains 100mg of sodium fluoride.
Inquiry should be made into whether the kit contained 20mg or 100mg of sodium fluoride because 100mg is required to prevent fermentation. There are problems with both. First, studies have shown that 20mg is insufficient to prevent fermentation and second, 100mg can cause an erroneously high result when “Head Space Analysis” testing is used (discussed later).
If you have been arrested for Driving While Intoxicated and would like a free telephone consultation with attorneys who know not just the law, but the science and procedures involved with DWI cases, contact Tilem & Campbell toll free at 1-877-377-8666.