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Acetone: not just your average nail polish remover ingredient

You've probably seen the word acetone listed as an ingredient on nail polish remover, a staple supply found in many home cabinets in North Carolina. Professional salons use acetone often for dissolving nail polish as well. By now, you're likely wondering what any of this has to do with the criminal justice system and why it's the topic of a post on a legal blog. The answer has to do with chemical testing often administered in suspected drunk driving situations.

Various types of breath testing machines exist that police officers may use to test whether alcohol is present in your bloodstream. A brand name of one such test with which most people are familiar is Breathalyzer. In fact, the popularity of this particular brand means that it's often used as a colloquial term for chemical breath tests in general. If a police officer asks you to take a breath test, you should know a few things ahead of time about acetone.

It can really mess up test results

One of the most crucial things you'll want to be aware of regarding acetone is that it can produce faulty Breathalyzer results. You might be wondering why you or anyone else would ever try to drink nail polish remover. The fact is, however, you don't have to ingest such products (which would be very dangerous) to have acetone on your breath. Following, are other possible reasons your breath may contain acetone:

  • Diabetes: If you suffer from this disease, in particular from the form of this disease that includes hypoglycemia, you may often experience high levels of acetone on your breath. If a Breathalzyer device detects it, the acetone can skew your test results.
  • Other adverse health conditions: If you suffer various other types of ill health, such as those related to kidney and/or liver disease, as well as certain heart conditions, you may sometimes have substantial levels of acetone on your breath.
  • Soft drinks: Do you often crave a diet soda? If so, you're definitely not alone in the habit, but you should be aware that diet soda could cause the acetone level on your breath to rise.
  • Traffic stop anxiety: You're likely one of many people who get very nervous when pulled over by police. This anxiety, fear or any type of overexertion can increase the amount of acetone on your breath.

Most people have some level of acetone on their breath at all times. However, if you fast or diet, or experience any of the conditions on this list, your body may produce more acetone than usual, which can affect Breathalyzer or other chemical breath test results. In fact, those who use modern day low carbohydrate diets to lose weight often have ketones in their bloodstreams, which can create isopropyl alcohol, which turns into acetone. Such situations can lead to a need for legal support.

False positive readings on alcohol-testing breath devices may put you at serious risk for conviction if a police officer tells the court you are suspected of drunk driving. The good news is that you can enlist the help of an experienced North Carolina attorney to challenge breath test evidence if you believe the person administering the test was not certified or you're concerned with possible high levels of acetone in your system, or any other reason that results may not be accurate.

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