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March 23, 1940


JAMA. 1940;114(12):1098. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810120070028

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To the Editor:—  It is implied in the editorial comment (The Journal, February 3, page 415) on the 1939 report of the Committee on Tests for Intoxication of the National Safety Council, Chicago, that there is no question regarding the validity of chemical tests for alcoholic intoxication. While it is desirable to have clarity with respect to legal definitions of such phrases as "under the influence" and "intoxicated," it is also necessary to have confidence in the reliability of chemical tests involving concentrations as small as 0.05 per cent by weight of alcohol in the blood, urine, saliva or breath, if such tests are to be sanctioned legally.Biochemists and toxicologists who have had extensive experience with these tests are not convinced that they are as reliable as might be implied by the recommendation of the American Medical Association Committee to Study Problems of Motor Vehicle Accidents. Based on the

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