Some programs like to interpret a “zero tolerance” alcohol policy very literally – they consider a positive breath test to be any number other than zero.
However, a reading of .008% BAC on any instrument might be difficult to defend. If the test was conducted on an instrument using a fuel cell sensor that is specific to alcohol, a .008 reading would raise a strong suspicion of the presence of alcohol. However, it is still below the cut-off level that we recommend using in substance abuse treatment programs. A .008% reading on a device using a semi-conductor sensor could be due to substances other than alcohol, and should definitely be disregarded.
We recommend that substance abuse programs use a cut-off level of .01% when using Alco-Sensor instruments. Any reading below .010 – such as .009, .008, etc. – should be considered a negative test.
We recommend that employers who test employees in the workplace use a cut-off level of .020%, which is the standard used by Department of Transportation regulations.
See our article on Zero Tolerance Alcohol Testing for a more detailed discussion on alcohol cut-off levels.