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No safe level of alcohol consumption – DOH

by Carl Santos

WHAT is the threshold for unhealthy alcohol consumption? If you ask the Department of Health, there isn’t one.

In a report by ABS-CBN News on Tuesday, DOH Assistant Secretary Albert Domingo said they agreed with the assessment of the World Health Organization and Hepatology Society of the Philippines that ”the risk starts with the first drop.”

“Ang mensahe is any level, any amount of alcohol: small, kahit sabihing light, kahit sabihing drink responsibly, hindi po iyan tama. Dapat po talaga iwasan siya,” he said.

”Hindi naman talaga totoo iyong parang sabi nila na it’s (alcohol) good for the heart,”  he added.

In January last year, the WHO declared that ”when it comes to alcohol consumption, there is no safe amount that does not affect health.”

”To identify a ‘safe’ level of alcohol consumption, valid scientific evidence would need to demonstrate that at and below a certain level, there is no risk of illness or injury associated with alcohol consumption,” the WHO said in a news release. 

”The new WHO statement clarifies: currently available evidence cannot indicate the existence of a threshold at which the carcinogenic effects of alcohol ‘switch on’ and start to manifest in the human body,” it added. 

At the time, the WHO said available data showed that half of all alcohol-attributable cancers in the WHO European Region were caused by “light” and “moderate” alcohol consumption, or less than 1.5 liters of wine, less than 3.5 liters of beer, or less than 450 milliliters of spirits per week.

”This drinking pattern is responsible for the majority of alcohol-attributable breast cancers in women, with the highest burden observed in countries of the European Union (EU). In the EU, cancer is the leading cause of death, with a steadily increasing incidence rate, and the majority of all alcohol-attributable deaths are due to different types of cancers,” the WHO said.



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