Alcohol testing with a lick?

Could alcohol testing strips replace breathalysers in the future? Credit Eva Rinaldi

Music festival attendees in Finland have been provided with a wristband that they could lick to get an indication of their blood alcohol concentration.

According to an article on, Solstice music festival-goers were provided two wristbands. One was to access the shows and the other was to check for blood alcohol concentration or BAC.

To conduct the alcohol testing, users were instructed to peel back a strip on the wristband and then lick the strip. A colour change would then indicate if a BAC threshold had been broken.

Casting at least some doubt on the validity of the alcohol testing wristbands for the music festival is that they were backed by Karhu, a Finish beer brand. However, they were designed by a company called Promilless which, according to, are backed by the Technical Research Center of Finland.

One of the issues with the strips, however, is that they don’t provide a BAC level. They only show if a BAC threshold has been broken. For example, Promilless sells three strips. One that shows if zero BAC has been broken. Similarly, the other two strips indicate when 0.02 or 0.05 BAC has been broken.

Promilless claims the alcohol testing strips are accurate, although there are known issues with similar strips. In particular, people can perform the test incorrectly and therefore not get an accurate result, plus certain foods and medicines can interfere with results.

Alcohol testing strips replace breathalysers?

Could alcohol testing strips replace breathalysers in the future?

There are perhaps two ways to look at this question. Firstly, they aren’t likely to replace alcohol testing breathalysers used by police and workplace alcohol testing providers. At the very least this is because no BAC level is provided by the strips. The strips could, however, be used as a personal breathalyser, of sorts, by people wanting to know if they are over the limit.

Personal alcohol testing and accuracy

As we mentioned above, the accuracy of the strips is a concern, however, the same can be said about some personal alcohol testing breathalysers on the market. Although all breathalysers do provide a BAC level, the cheaper semiconductor breathalysers you can buy only provide an estimate of a person’s BAC at best.  Older ones can become even more inaccurate over time.

If you’re looking for a more accurate way of testing for alcohol, we recommend a

fuel cell breathalyser. These devices are very similar – and in some cases the same – as those used by police forces and workplace alcohol testing firms such as Integrity Sampling.

In fact, with Father’s Day just around the corner, why not buy a fuel cell breathalyser for your loved one?

Integrity Sampling sells two Drager Alcotest units on our website – the Drager Alcotest 6000 and the Drager Alcotest 4000. The 6000 is designed for the professional alcohol testing user and the price of $775 reflects this, while the 4000 is very affordable at $329, which includes GST and shipping.

Order your Father’s Day gift today from the Integrity Sampling website.


Could alcohol testing strips replace breathalysers in the future? Credit Eva Rinaldi

By Michael

Michael is the founder of Integrity Sampling and is responsible for overseeing all national operations. He is based at Integrity Sampling's head office in Melbourne and is also responsible for the co-ordination of drug and alcohol testing within Victoria, assisting in the implementation of drug and alcohol (fit for work) policies and the presentation of drug and alcohol education and awareness programs. You can connect with Michael Wheeldon on LinkedIn

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