iodine skin prep

Stefan Rose, M.D.: Not all Iodine skin disinfectants are the same! (some contain ethanol)

One of the potential errors that may challenge the reliability of the blood alcohol test is the use of a skin preparation agent that contains ethanol. Many jurisdictions require the use of a non-alcohol skin prep agent during the process of a legal blood draw for alcohol testing.

Iodine containing skin prep agents are often used as a local skin disinfectant in place of the typical alcohol skin prep pad. These iodine skin prep products are always thought to be ethanol free. The iodine skin prep agents may be sold as a skin prep pad or as a swab stick. They are often sold under the name of povidone-iodine and look like the products below: 

iodine pre pads
iodine swabstick

However be advised there is a product on the market that is a povidone-iodine skin prep agent that contains ethanol!

persist skin prep
persist skin prep

The skin prep original packaging should be a part of the forensic blood alcohol collection kit submitted to the forensic testing laboratory. Very often the skin prep packaging is not included, and there is no way to verify that the skin prep product was ethanol free. This raises doubt as to the accuracy and reliability of the blood test result, and the issue should be explored by both the prosecuting attorney and the defense attorney in every criminal case.


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