OT - Finishes, Solvents and BAC

I have a question that someone may or may not be able to answer. The issue is somewhat woodworking related.
Does anyone know if daily exposure to commercial finishes and solvents can cause a false positive on a blood alcohol content test? An acquaintance who works in a commercial finishing department in a cabinet shop claims that he was pulled over after work for having an expired registration and was subsequently asked to submit to a breathalyzer test. Feeling that there was nothing to worry about, submitted and was arrested fro a DUI. Sounds rather strange to me.
Any thoughts?
--

Al Reid

"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know
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On Thu, 20 May 2004 23:15:50 GMT, "Al Reid"

Sounds like he took a Shellacking.
Regards, Tom.
Thomas J.Watson - Cabinetmaker (ret.) tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1
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Nah, he was all lacquered up.
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I guess he should not have let the registration expire... I wonder why he let it expire? May be he was DUI.
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I was told by a cop that if you are sparaying sovents and then take a breathalizer it would give a positive reading and yes they can hit you with a DUI How long after the exposure to solvents i do not know,

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On Thu, 20 May 2004 16:46:04 -0700, "George M. Kazaka"

Remember DUI dosen't always mean alcohol or even a breathalyzer.
A driver can be arrested for being under the influence of almost anything in CT, including prescription drugs, solvents, cleaning fluids, paint, etc...
All it takes is an officer to observe impaired operation, and failing a roadside test..
My regular microbrew pub hangout on any given night is typically populated by 75% law enforcement professionals.
Nothing like a traffic law debate with a friendly state cop, after 5 or 6 microbrews. <G> "What if" discussions can be even funnier!
Barry
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I don't know what the effects are as regards blood alcohol tests, but I can certainly give you personal anecdotal evidence that both shellac and cellulose lacquer finishes will affect you significantly, if you breathe them long enough. They give you a spaced-out feeling and, in the case of cellulose, a vicious hangover without the pleasure of having had a really good bash down the bar with the lads.
I think your friend needs to pursue this further.
Cheers
Frank

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Al Reid wrote:

I doubt the officer gives everyone he stops for an expired registration a breathalyzer test. Something must have given him cause to request the test.
-- Jack Novak Buffalo, NY - USA (Remove "SPAM" from email address to reply)
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Depends a lot where you are. In my locality, if they bothered to stop you, they're going to breathalyse you too. In North Wales, you can (and will) be breathalysed simply for driving after midnight.
Breathalysers are sensitive to almost everything, so getting the red light is no surprise at all. However a blood test done with HPLC or a similar analytical technique can identify the particular solvent or alcohol concerned (urine tests are less specific). This should be easily demonstrable in court, if it even gets that far.
There's also the possibility that being affected and impaired by solvents (however accidental) is just as serious an offence as deliberately drinking. In some cases (shellac) then you may even have been absorbing ethanol - I've been known to use vodka in my shellac mixes after all.
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Sounds like your friend might seriously think about using a respirator, because daily exposure can cause more serious damage than a DUI. If it's in his blood, then it's affecting his liver and nervous tissue.

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"Al Reid" snipped-for-privacy@reidHyphenhome.com inquired:
"Does anyone know if daily exposure to commercial finishes and solvents can

In most of the "enlightened jurisdictions" (UK, where they convict speeders on the basis of hidden cameras, not included for these purposes!), continuous proximity to vapors from pait, lacquer, etc. have long constitued a very effective defense to DUI charges. That being said, that argument loses ALL credibility when the police present the results of a Blood Alcohol Test containing alcoholic content. If it's over the accepted .08 limit, your friendly painter had better stow the argument. The breath test (breathalayzer) measures the amout of ALCOHOL in the bloodstream by translating the amount found in the alveolar air in the lungs. The amount of alcohol in the bloodstream in no way is affected by proximity to fumes. The only way blood alcohol content could be affected is if the subject drank the stuff and it was alcohol based. The reason proximity is occassionally a good defense is that frequently proximity to such fumes can produce a physical reaction much like the over-consumption of alcohol, such as, blood shot eyes, unsteadiness, mild incoherence, etc. Hope this helps; sorry if I sound like the professor in the "Paper Chase".
Jay Sweeney in NH
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On 21 May 2004 12:10:34 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (S S Law NH) wrote:

OK but check out the following:

Regards, Tom.
Thomas J.Watson - Cabinetmaker (ret.) tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1
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Tom Watson responded:
"OK but check out the following:
http://www.frankmckinnon.com/methanol.htm "
Right, Tom, as they say "For every rule, there's an exception."! One of the reasons lawyers make a living.
Jay
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Did some time on a DOA analyzer. Your answer is "it depends" - largely on the testing methodology used. "Breathalyzers" might very well test positive for non-ethanol analogs; inhalation is a reasonable way to acquire dosage; solvents include ethanol and methanol.
Step 1 is to request urinalysis. [ Betting on the test used being more specific (eg. ELISA)] Step 2 is to save some of that urine to be analyzed by chromatgraphic means.
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