ERIC Number: ED372336
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1990
Reference Count: N/A
Facts on the Effects of Alcohol. Clearinghouse Fact Sheet.
Milgram, Gail Gleason
Ethyl alcohol (ethanol) is one of the few alcohols that humans can drink. This alcohol is a byproduct of yeast's reaction with the sugars in fruit or vegetable juice and the process stops naturally with about an 11 to 14 percent alcoholic concentration, although distillation can greatly increase the alcoholic content. Once ingested, most alcohol passes into the small intestines and then into the bloodstream. The body disposes of alcohol in two ways: (1) elimination through the lungs and kidneys; and (2) oxidation. The latter process removes 90 percent of the alcohol and the liver plays a major role in this mechanism. The liver, though, can only oxidize a certain amount of alcohol every hour so individuals are advised to drink slowly. Alcohol's effect depends on a variety of factors, including: (1) how one feels before drinking; (2) what the drinker expects alcohol to do; (3) how much one drinks; (4) how long one takes to drink; (5) the type of alcoholic beverage; (6) the size of the drinker; (7) food in the stomach; and (8) experience in using alcoholic beverages. The effects of alcohol are directly related to the concentration of alcohol in the blood. The first brain function to be impaired is usually one's ability to think and make decisions, followed by decreased motor function. In many states a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .10% is considered legal evidence that a driver is intoxicated. Some states use a BAC of 0.08% and in some European countries the legal BAC is 0.05%. (RJM)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Rutgers, The State Univ., Piscataway, NJ. Center of Alcohol Studies.