Chemical methods to determine whether the driver of an automobile is under the influence of alcohol are replacing the older physical tests. The technique consists of distilling the alcohol from a known quantity of body fluid - blood or urine - into a standard solution of acidified potassium dichromate. Through subsequent titration, the quantity of unreduced dichromate is determined and the number of milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of body fluid is computed. Reliable methods of analysis, differing in details but not in principle, have been developed by Widmark of Sweden, Nicloux of France, Harger of Indiana, Muehlberger of Illinois, Heise of Wisconsin, and others. Harger has also perfected a breath test, using potassium permanganate as the oxidizing agent. These methods have been endorsed by the National Safety Council and by the American Medical Association, and are widely used both here and abroad.
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science
©1940 Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.
Getchell, R. W.
"Chemical Evidences of Intoxication,"
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science, 47(1), 261-261.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/pias/vol47/iss1/49