The Partition Ratio Defense; Do We Share a Lung?

Heart and Lungs

Is your lung the same as mine?  The breath test machine assumes that it is.  While scientific studies suggest that lung physiology can have a significant impact on breath alcohol testing, Hlastala, “The Impact of Lung Physiology on Breath Alcohol Testing,” 1 DWI Journal: Law and Sciences 5, 31-48 (November/December 1986), the breath testing machines assume that all lungs are the same.  It is assumed for purposes of breath alcohol analysis that a person will exhale air at an average temperature of 34 degrees C.  At that assumed temperature, 2100 milliliters of alveolar air (deep lung air) is assumed to have the same quantity of alcohol as 1 milliliter of pulmonary arterial blood. Greenberg, “Physiological Factors Affecting Breath Samples,” 5 Journal of Forensic Sciences 411 (1960).  As is pointed out in Barone, Defending Drinking Drivers, Second Ed., sec. 223, “There is still scientific debate on the validity of the 2100:1 ratio. Alobaidi et al., “Significance of Variation in Blood/Breath Partition Coefficient of Alcohol,” 2 British Medical Journal 147 (1976); Dubowski and O’Neill, “The Blood Breath Ratio of Ethanol,” 25 Clinical Chemistry 1144 (1979).  Some scientific literature suggests ratios as wide as 1117:1 to 7289:1. Dubowski and O’Neill, “The Blood/Breath Raio of Ethanol,” 25 Clinical Chemistry 1144 (1979).  Harger et al., “The Partition Ratio of Alcohol Between Air and Water, Urine and Blood; Estimation and Identification of Alcohol in These Liquids from Analysis of Air Equilibrated with Them,” 183 Journal of Biological Chemistry 197 (1950); Jones, “Variability of the Blood/Breath Ratio in Vivo,” 39 Journal Alchoholic Studies 1931 (1978).  Another study suggests that the mean ratio is 2280:1 for healthy males with an assumed “normal” body temperatures, implying that the ratio is different for women, unhealthy persons, and persons with a variance in body temperature.Dubowski and O’Neill, “The Blood Breath Ratio of Ethanol,” 25 Clinical Chemistry 1144 (1979).  For more on using the partition ratio and body temperature as a defense see this blog at BREATHALYZERS AND THE BODY TEMPERATURE DEFENSE.

Dayton DUI Attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates himself to the defense of the accused drunk driver.  He has attended the latest forensic science seminar of the National College for DUI Defense and is the only Ohio OVI attorney to have earned certification in Forensic Sobriety Assessment.  If you need an aggressive Ohio DUI attorney, contact Charles M. Rowland II today HERE, or at 937-318-1DUI (318-1384) or visit www.DaytonDUI.com.