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Can Toothpaste Make You Fail A Breathalyzer Test?

Posted Jan 17 2010 10:05pm

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Here’s an interesting news story from CosmeticsDesign.com about Massachusetts Senator Anthony Galluccio’s drunk driving arrest.  The reason this caught the attention of my “beauty brain” is that the Senator claimed his that his toothpaste made him fail a breathalyzer test. Could this be true?

The controversy centers around the ingredient sorbitol, a sugar alcohol which is used in toothpaste to provide sweetness and help maintain the water content of the paste.  Galluccio regularly uses either Sensodyne Toothpaste and Colgate Total Whitening  and reportedly a physician told him that these products could cause a positive breathalyzer result. However, James Herms, a formulator who helped develop Sensodyne formulas says that sorbitol ‘is not going to show up’ on a DOT-approved alcohol testing device. The only oral care ingredient likely to cause such an effect is ethyl alcohol, which is used in larger amounts in mouth washes.

Joe Dwinell from the Boston Herald, the paper that broke this story, tested this theory by brushing his teeth with the same Sensodyne product and then taking a breathalyzer test. After only two minutes, the results showed no trace of alcohol. While this certainly isn’t a scientifically rigorous test, the “sorbitol defense” certainly sounds like BS to me.

What do YOU think? Does this sound like beauty science or BS to you? Leave a comment for the rest of the Beauty Brains community.

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