Objective: To determine the validity of the Danish urban myth that it is possible to get drunk by submerging feet in alcohol.
Design: Open labelled, self experimental study, with no control group.
Setting: Office of a Danish hospital.
Participants: Three adults, median age 32 (range 31-35), free of chronic skin and liver disease and non-dependent on alcohol and psychoactive drugs.
Main outcome measures: The primary end point was the concentration of plasma ethanol (detection limit 2.2 mmol/L (10 mg/100 mL)), measured every 30 minutes for three hours while feet were submerged in a washing-up bowl containing the contents of three 700 mL bottles of vodka. The secondary outcome was self assessment of intoxication related symptoms (self confidence, urge to speak, and number of spontaneous hugs), scored on a scale of 0 to 10.
Results: Plasma ethanol concentrations were below the detection limit of 2.2 mmol/L (10 mg/100 mL) throughout the experiment. No significant changes were observed in the intoxication related symptoms, although self confidence and urge to speak increased slightly at the start of the study, probably due to the setup.
Conclusion: Our results suggest that feet are impenetrable to the alcohol component of vodka. We therefore conclude that the Danish urban myth of being able to get drunk by submerging feet in alcoholic beverages is just that; a myth. The implications of the study are many though.