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To the Editor:—
In The Journal, June 27, 1959, page 1108, Dr. Joseph Beeman disagreed with Friedemann and Bubowski (J. A. M. A.170:47 [May 2] 1959), who stated that alcohol applied to the skin has a negligible effect on the alcohol content of the blood drawn when alcohol is used as an antiseptic. Dr. Beeman has found as much as 200 mg. of ethanol per 100 ml. of blood, or 0.20%.A paper of my own (Am. J. Path.32:169 [Aug.] 1959) on this subject indicates that alcohol on the skin has a very slight effect on the percentage of alcohol found in the blood. It is more likely that Dr. Beeman's experience paralleled mine, namely, that the syringe had been rinsed with alcohol befor it was used to withdraw the blood. On two occasions I found more than 1.0% alcohol in specimens, a percentage which would
Heise HA. ETHYL ALCOHOL LEVELS IN THE BLOOD. JAMA. 1960;172(11):1197. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020110081023