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The Dose Makes the Poison

There is no such thing as a safe level of alcohol consumption | Professor David Nutt | Science | guardian.co.uk

There is no safe dose of alcohol for these reasons:

• Alcohol is a toxin that kills cells such as microorganisms, which is why we use it to preserve food and sterilise skin, needles etc. Alcohol kills humans too. A dose only four times as high as the amount that would make blood levels exceed drink-driving limits in the UK can kill.

Replace the word "alcohol" with "salt" to see what nonsense that is;
Acute oral LD50 for male humans for sodium chloride is 1 gram per kg.
http://msds.chem.ox.ac.uk/SO/sodium_chloride.html if 100 75kg men selected at random each eat 75 grams of salt in one hit, 50 will die, assuming no follow up medical care. Average salt intake is about 7.5g per day. 10% of the lethal dose of a bug killing chemical.

Average oral acute LD50 for men for whiskey is two bottles, each of 26 ounces or 750 mls, drunk quite quickly, 600mls of alcohol. Average daily consumption 30mls. 5% of the lethal dose of a bug killing chemical.
Or take caffeine, spinach, Vitamin D....

Although most people do not become addicted to alcohol on their first drink, a small proportion do. As a clinical psychiatrist who has worked with alcoholics for more than 30 years, I have seen many people who have experienced a strong liking of alcohol from their very first exposure and then gone on to become addicted to it.

So in fact you haven't seen anyone "addicted" from the first drink, just they liked it and then became addicted.

The supposed cardiovascular benefits of a low level of alcohol intake in some middle-aged men cannot be taken as proof that alcohol is beneficial.

Not proven because only epidemiological association and not a randomised trial. Just like the thousand other health claims we are bombarded with every day. I have a feeling the danger from smoking is only a epidemiological association and no human randomised trials have been done either.

He may be using the word safe to mean entirely devoid of any risk, but that isn't useful. Crying wolf on risks is counter productive to warning about real risks. Hark unto Paracelsus

Comments

There is an implication that alcohol or even smoking is addictive and if anyone were to drink or smoke for awhile that they would be unable to stop. This contradicts reality. It seems far more likely that there are addictive personalities who indeed cannot give up alcohol, drugs and smoking. Most people are not addicted to alcohol and cigarettes even though almost everyone is exposed to them and uses them as part of our transition into adulthood. Most of us have binge'd on alcohol and smoked cigarettes and are not addicted.

Vastly overstating risk. Elsewhere, he claims not to be "a prohibitionist." But he says LSD, heroin and other substances "do less harm" than alcohol or tobacco - which is also true of arsenic, in that far fewer people deliberately consume it.

And if there is indeed no safe level, we are all at risk - human metabolism produces alcohol even if one never ingests it.

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