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Preparation and Uncertainty of Ethanol Standards

Authors: Ning Chang PhD, Isil Dilek PhD, Bryan Dockery, Kevin Gates, Huahua Jian PhD, Mitzi Rettinger, Krystal Silva, Uma Sreenivasan PhD
Presented at SOFT, October 2009

Ethanol standards are widely used in forensic and toxicology applications for determination of blood alcohol content. Results of blood alcohol testing have significant legal implications and are frequently used as evidence in courts of law. The blood alcohol analysis process must therefore be reliable and defensible.

A critical component of blood alcohol analysis is the calibrator used for quantitation of results. Ethanol reference standards are widely available for this purpose and are sold in many formats – bottled and ampouled. The accuracy and uncertainty associated with these standards are important contributors to the accuracy and associated uncertainty of the blood alcohol test result. It is imperative that the uncertainty to the reference standards be within the margins of the blood alcohol testing uncertainty and the certified concentration is accurate and completely traceable to international units of measure.

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