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Old 21-08-2009, 05:46   #1
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Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

How many drinks = 0.08?

The following charts can be used to estimate blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC).
How to use: Given a person’s weight and the number of drinks, the chart provides a BAC.
Subtract from this number the amount of alcohol eliminated since the time of the first drink, using the average of 0.015 per hour (for men), or 0.018 per hour (for women).

For the purposes of these charts, a “drink” is:
• 12 oz. of 4.2% beer (a typical “lite” beer)
• 4 oz. of 12-13% wine
• 1.25 oz. of 80-proof liquor

These alcohol charts are only general guidelines, and actual alcohol concentrations achieved may vary.

Alcohol chart (men)

Body weight ... Number of drinks
............. 1 ..... 2 ... 3 .... 4 .... 5 .... 6
120 lbs. .031 .063 .094 .125 .156 .188
130 lbs. .029 .058 .087 .116 .145 .174
140 lbs. .027 .054 .080 .107 .134 .161
150 lbs. .025 .050 .075 .100 .125 .151
160 lbs. .023 .047 .070 .094 .117 .141
170 lbs. .022 .045 .066 .088 .110 .132
180 lbs. .021 .042 .063 .083 .104 .125
190 lbs. .020 .040 .059 .079 .099 .119
200 lbs. .019 .038 .056 .075 .094 .113
210 lbs. .018 .036 .053 .071 .090 .107
220 lbs. .017 .034 .051 .068 .085 .102

EXAMPLE: A 180-pound man could have four drinks within one hour - a considerable amount of drinking - and his BAC would be: .083 (from the chart) minus .015 (.015 x 1 hour) = .068.

Alcohol chart (women)
Body weight ... Number of drinks
............ 1 ..... 2 ... 3 ... 4 .... 5 .... 6
90 lbs. .053 .106 .159 .212 .265 .318
100 lbs. .047 .094 .141 .188 .235 .282
110 lbs. .042 .084 .126 .168 .210 .252
120 lbs. .038 .076 .114 .152 .190 .228
130 lbs. .036 .072 .108 .144 .180 .216
140 lbs. .033 .066 .099 .132 .165 .198
150 lbs. .031 .062 .093 .124 .155 .186
160 lbs. .028 .056 .084 .112 .140 .168
170 lbs. .027 .054 .081 .108 .135 .162
180 lbs. .026 .052 .078 .104 .130 .156

EXAMPLE: A 120-pound woman could have three drinks within two hours, and her BAC would be: .114 (from the chart) minus .036 (.018 per hour x 2 hours) = .078.

NOTE: These BAC figures are for drinking without eating. Having something to eat along with a drink may slow alcohol absorption and lead to a lower blood or breath alcohol concentration.

Tolerance has no effect on the rate at which someone's alcohol level will climb. An older, experienced drinker will not get to .08 any slower than a young lightweight drinker. How quickly they are impaired will likely be different, but their actual body alcohol level will not be affected by their experience with alcohol. The only exception being if the older drinker has suffered liver damage, in such case, his alcohol level would be HIGHER than the young drinker because his body would have a diminished ability to eliminate the alcohol as it is consumed.

Chart Source:
Chemical Test Section, Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Division of State Patrol
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Old 21-08-2009, 06:24   #2
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Cool numbers, but I say just do not drink on the water. If you can't postpone your drink until you get to the yacht club bar then perhaps you have a problem.

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Old 21-08-2009, 06:56   #3
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Barnakiel, I am confident that Gord did not post these to promote drinking on the water. Knowledge is always valuable, even if only to convince others that they may have had one too many in order to drive, sail, etc. Further, for those of us who are prepared to drink while under anchor, there is still the risk that the anchor drags and that we will be required to operate the vessel when we had not anticipated it.

In most jurisdicitons, it is an offence to operate a vehicle or vessel with a BAC higher than .100; in many others the limit is .080 and in some it is being/has been further reduced to .050. Knowledge of how those readings relate to alcohol consumption/body weight is therefore useful, as at .050 most of us will feel no impairment.

It is also important to the extent that it brings home the difference in BAC's based upon body weight; for example, if my fiance (at 120 lbs.) and I (at 170 lbs.)were to each drink two 6 oz. glasses of wine over a two hour period with dinner, my BAC would be approximately .066 less .030 (eliminated over 2 hours) or .036,; my fiance, on the other hand, would be .114 less .036 or .079 - well over the legal limit of .050 in many jurisdictions and essentially at the limit of .080 in my own.

Brad
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Old 21-08-2009, 06:57   #4
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I found it interesting in ground school when I learned that the FAA is ok with up to .04 BAC. Not saying it's smart, just a fact.

Federal Aviation Regulation (CFR) 91.17

And as far as impairment goes, we really should have a whole slew of laws that pertain to operating things when under the influence of lack of sleep...it's just as criminal.
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Old 21-08-2009, 07:20   #5
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Case in point

Once upon a time I was an OPP officer. They decided to make me a breathalyzer operator. So I took the course on how to run the machine, which was very antique in those days, little glass bottles of acid to pick up the alcohol and change colour and "standard solution" to calibrate the machine. Of course you could just move the needle by hand to wherever you wanted it, so it was hokey as hell, but it was law. At any rate, you need to have subjects to test with, so everyday 6 students would serve as test subjects and get locked in a little room and pour back as much as they could as quick as they could for 1 hour. Some spectacular drinking took place.

My personal experience was that I (at 190 lbs) poured back six 5% beers in 1 hour, and I was, shall we say, gunned, corned, wasted, toasted, blitzed, blasted, you get the idea. For sure I would not drive a car. At the end of the hour we had to start blowing. My first readings were around .06 and climbed to .10 fairly quickly but never got higher than that and then started dropping. I was stunned by that, I felt sure I would blow much higher, and by many of these guides, I would have. So I tend to take these guides with a grain of salt though they do seem to err on the side of safety and that is a good thing.

While experience at drinking doesn't affect the blood alcohol level, it certainly affects how a person can tolerate higher blood alcohol levels and still function. I've seen kids clearly shit-faced and blow .04 and I've seen guys who only looked marginal on motor skills tests turn around and blow a near lethal level. Rubbies will drink isopropyl alcohol, which is supposedly toxic, and live through it though not for many years. Tolerance to alcohol, like most drugs, builds.

Also helped form why I am now an ex-OPP officer, nothing like leaving a warm bed at 4 am to deal with a drunken idiot and then have to come in again at 7 am to start work. Small northern offices had only a couple of breath man so this happened a lot. Other lines of work are much more rewarding.
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Old 21-08-2009, 08:15   #6
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By way of explaining some of jdoe71's valid professional observations.

Read no further, if you're easily bored, or don't appreciate information for it's own sake.

Some definitions:
Absorption is the passage of alcohol into the blood.
Distribution is the temporary placement of alcohol into various body tissues.
Elimination is the removal of alcohol from the body.
Diffusion is the method of passage of alcohol through cell membranes and is governed by concentration differences on either side of the cell wall.

The Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is a measure of the difference between the rates of absorption and elimination. The change in BAC with time may be described graphically as a "blood alcohol curve," where the absorption phase is represented by a rising line and the elimination phase by a falling line.

Alcohol is absorbed from the stomach and small intestine by diffusion. Most absorption occurs from the small intestine due to its large surface area and rich blood supply. The rate of absorption varies with the emptying time of the stomach. Generally, the higher the alcohol concentration of the beverage, the faster the rate of absorption. However, above a certain concentration, the rate of absorption may decrease due to the delayed passage of alcohol from the stomach into the small intestine.

The maximum absorption rate is obtained with the consumption of an alcoholic beverage containing approximately 20-25% (by volume or v/v) alcohol solution on an empty stomach. The absorption rate may be less when alcohol is consumed with food or when a 40% (v/v) alcohol solution is consumed on an empty stomach. The rate may also slow down when high fluid volume/low alcohol content beverages, such as beer, are consumed.

For normal social-type drinking, the highest BAC is usually achieved within 30 minutes after completion of consumption, though it could take as long as 60 minutes. When large amounts of alcohol are consumed over a short time interval, or when a large quantity of food is eaten with the alcohol, the absorption phase may not be complete for up to two (2) hours after last consumption.

In other situations, a subject may develop a plateau, where the blood alcohol level does not change for up to two hours. When this occurs the rate of absorption is equal to the rate of elimination and hence the blood alcohol concentration does not change. After two hours, the rate of elimination will exceed the rate of absorption and the blood alcohol level will begin to decrease.

Once in the blood, alcohol is carried throughout the body. The alcohol diffuses into tissues and fluids according to their water content. During the absorption phase, the BAC of arterial blood is greater than the BAC of venous blood. Arteries carry blood to a tissue, and veins remove blood from the tissue. At equilibrium, where the tissue has absorbed a proportionate quantity of alcohol, the BAC of arterial blood is equal to the BAC of venous blood.

Alcohol is eliminated from the body by excretion and metabolism. Most alcohol is metabolized, or burned, in a manner similar to food, yielding carbon dioxide and water. A small portion of alcohol is excreted, such as through the breath, leaving the body as alcohol, unchanged. It is this latter process that allows for breath alcohol testing.

Elimination occurs at a constant rate for a given individual.The median rate of decrease in BAC is considered to be 15 milligrams per cent (mg%) per hour. The range of decrease in BAC is 10-20 mg% per hour. This range represents the extreme ends of the rate encountered in a normal population. Most people eliminate at a rate of between 13 and 18 mg% per hour. Of these, the majority eliminates at the higher end. Very few people eliminate at as low a rate as 10 mg% per hour.

Hospital analyses of blood samples for ethyl alcohol content are often based upon serum or plasma as the sample matrix.

Plasma is the liquid portion of the circulating blood.

Serum is the liquid remaining after the red blood cells are removed by mechanical means, such as centrifugation.

Serum contains slightly more water than whole blood and hence will have a slightly higher alcohol level than whole blood. Scientific studies have shown that serum will contain more alcohol than whole blood by a factor of between 1.08:1 and 1.18:1, or on average, a factor of 1.12:1. As a result, a serum alcohol level of 108-118 mg% would be equivalent to an alcohol level of 100 mg% in whole blood.

Blood analysis is a direct method for the determination of a blood alcohol level and urine analysis is an indirect method. In other words, a blood sample analysis is the most accurate means to predict a blood alcohol level. To some extent a UAC can corroborate a BAC, but difficulties can arise with the use of a single urine sample because of pooled urine in the bladder. More than one urine sample should be obtained over a known time interval.

It should be noted that individuals can be impaired by alcohol without manifesting any visible signs. Impairment is not simply the appearance of gross physical symptoms but a deterioration of judgment, attention, loss of fine co-ordination and control with a possible increase in reaction time and a diminishing of sensory perceptions. Intoxication is an advanced state of impairment in which the gross physical symptoms of the effects of alcohol are apparent. The point at which "impairment" becomes "intoxication" is unique to the subject and depends on tolerance.

Studies have shown that impairment is greater at a given blood alcohol level when the BAC is increasing than for the same BAC when the blood alcohol level is falling. This is called the Mellanby effect.
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Old 21-08-2009, 08:23   #7
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I think my seasickness would prevent me from ever reaching alcohol saturation (being drunk) Oh, the very thought of it.
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Old 21-08-2009, 09:07   #8
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I've ALWAYS followed this advice:

I limit myself to 1 beer per hour. That way I'm SURE I'm under the limit. Note I said beer. Wine and grain alcohol are too hard to judge alcohol content.
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Old 21-08-2009, 09:19   #9
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Bill, it still depends upon the period of time that you are drinking (and your body weight) because you will likely not eliminate a full beer per hour.

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Old 21-08-2009, 09:20   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Endojoe View Post
A commercial pilot friend of mine says their rule is 12 hours "bottle to throttle".
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Old 21-08-2009, 09:30   #11
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Bill, it still depends upon the period of time that you are drinking (and your body weight) because you will likely not eliminate a full beer per hour.

Brad
Yes, it does. But, look at it this way: 1) there's no way I can consume 10 beers in a day. If it takes 10 hours to consume them, and based upon Gord's figures it takes 4 in an hour to get me over the limit, I have 10 hours to eliminate 7 beers. But, I can't drink that much beer AND consider boating or driving.
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Old 21-08-2009, 09:38   #12
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Good grief, a beer an hour and they should not even be walking around the house.
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Old 21-08-2009, 09:48   #13
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David,

It takes about 80 minutes for my body to eliminate the alcohol from a beer (based on data charts and my weight).

There's NO WAY I'd drink 10 beers in 10 hours - my original point was that I drink NO MORE than 1 beer an hour.

It takes 4 beers in an hour to be over the limit - assuming no alcohol elimination.

The math says, drink 10 beers in 10 hours, and you've eliminated the alcohol of 8 of those beers, leaving you with 2 beers in you.
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Old 21-08-2009, 09:48   #14
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The FAA rule is a maximum BAC of .04% plus a minimum of 12 hours from consuming any alcohol. If you have .04% BAC after 12 hours you must have tied on a pretty good one the night before.
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Old 21-08-2009, 09:48   #15
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So Dinius was close to half a beer per hour?.....i2f
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