“Alcohol is a Poison”
by David J. Hanson, Ph.D.
A poison is any substance that is capable of causing injury, illness or death to an organism. 1 Salt, water and oxygen are all poisons because in high enough quantities they can harm people. Too much salt in a diet can cause serious health problems, hyper hydration can kill athletes, and too much oxygen given to a premature infant can cause permanent blindness.
Toxicologists emphasize that “the dosage makes the poison.” Although salt, water, oxygen, aspirin, alcohol beverages, and many other substances can cause poisoning in excessive amounts, it makes no sense to call them poisons.
ETHYL ALCOHOL IS A POISON
“ETHYL ALCOHOL IS A POISON. No intelligent person knowingly ingests poison unless they want to die prematurely.” 4
So why do so many groups and organizations insist on calling alcohol a poison? Apparently to stigmatize alcoholic beverages and frighten people into alcohol abstinence. The tactic was first used effectively by the Anti-Saloon League, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the KKK and other anti-alcohol groups. 2 The technique is still widely used today. 3
Honest communication doesn’t mislead or deceive. Calling alcohol a poison is misleading and deceptive.