For years DUI lawyers near me and breath testing experts claimed that breath test machines (like the Intoxilyzer 5000) read other substances on your breath as alcohol and thus gave a false high reading. These substances are called “interferents.” Examples of interferents are paint fumes, carburetor cleaner, and substances found in many beauty salon supplies. For just as many years the the corporation that made the machines (CMI, Inc.) and the Maine’s breath test staff claimed that was just a Portland ME defense lawyer’s gimmick.
They said the machines were specific for alcohol, would reliably detect interferents, and would subtract any interferents from the final blood alcohol content (BAC) results reading.
So who was right? Was it a gimmick from a DUI lawyer? Were the people whose jobs depended on the machines being right covering something up?