This section is from the book "Alcohol, Its Production, Properties, Chemistry, And Industrial Applications", by Charles Simmonds. Also available from Amazon: Alcohol: Its Production, Properties, Chemistry, And Industrial Applications.
During the first few hours after it is imbibed, alcohol passes into the blood more rapidly than it is oxidised. The concentration therefore rises, reaches a maximum value, and usually remains at about that level for some time. The interval before the maximum is reached varies with the amount of the dose and other conditions. During the phase of unaltered concentration the oxidation and the absorption practically balance each other. Then the oxidation begins to preponderate, the concentration decreases, and after about twenty-four hours no more alcohol is detectible in the body.
The degree of maximum concentration attained is important. It bears a regular relation to the dose given. With an animal receiving alcohol equivalent to 1 cubic centimetre per kilogram of body-weight, the maximum subsequently found in the blood was about 01 per cent.; with 2 cubic centimetres, the maximum was about 0'2 per cent., and so on.1 This maximum concentration does not, of course, represent the whole of the alcohol; it is the balance of absorption over destruction. Some of the alcohol has already been destroyed, whilst some is still unabsorbed. The correspondence between the one, or two, parts per thousand of alcohol administered and alcohol found in the body is an accidental coincidence.
Thus it is possible, from the percentage found in the blood, to calculate approximately the minimum quantity of alcohol taken. Suppose, for example, that the blood of a man weighing 10 stone is found to contain 05 per cent. of alcohol. This, from what precedes, represents at least 5 c.c. per kilogram of body-weight, and as 10 stone = 63 6 kilos., the minimum quantity of alcohol drunk = 5 x 636 c.c. = 318 c.c., or 112 fluid ounces.
Chabanier and Loring,2 using the Nicloux method of analysis, have determined the concentration of ethyl alcohol (and also of methyl alcohol) in the blood and in the urine of subjects who had ingested these alcohols. They found that the concentration was practically the same in the urine as in the blood. They conclude, therefore, that there is no accumulation of alcohol by the kidneys, since it is eliminated at substantially the same degree of dilution as is found in the blood.