Methanol Poisoning

By looking at the bottle of an alcoholic drink, you can hardly tell its ingredients. Ethanol is a safe to drink alcohol which is commonly referred to as ‘real alcohol’ in some regions; whereas methanol is an industrial alcohol which, in certain cases, is illegally added to ‘real alcohol’, resulting in ‘adulterated alcohol’ . Ethanol and methanol are both colourless liquid that may dissolve in water. It may be a matter of life and death as you may not be able to differentiate them before consumption.

SOURCE

Legal
(formal settings / licensed)

Illegal
(informal settings/ unlicensed to sell alcohol)

APPEARANCE

Labelled containers

Unlabelled containers
(labels are poorly printed or with typographical errors or broken seals)

PRICE

Relatively expensive

Relatively cheap

IF YOU GET DRUNK…

IN A FEW HOURS

Vomiting, poor judgement, loss of balance, drowsiness

Vomiting, poor judgement, loss of balance, drowsiness

12-24 HOURS OR MORE

Gradually recover

Abdominal pain, vertigo, hyperventilation, breathlessness, blurry vision and/or blindness in severe cases, coma, convulsions

OUTCOME

Alive

May die from methanol poisoning

Why does methanol poisoning happen after consuming adulterated alcohol?

Methanol as a chemical compound itself is not toxic. Only when it is ingested into the body that it would become toxic substances, such as formic acid and its anion formate, that could put your health at risk.

Ingestion of methanol happens when a person consumes alcoholic drinks that have been adulterated with methanol, which is done by those making it to lower production cost and increase profit.

Thousands of people are poisoned by methanol every year. The fatality rate in an outbreak is often reported to be 20% to 40%.

The toxic dose of methanol depends on the concentration and the treatment provided to an individual. As little as 30ml (about a mouthful) is reported to be the minimum fatal dose for an adult, and 10ml (2 teaspoons) can cause blindness. If left untreated, symptoms typically evolve into visual disturbances, coma, brain damage, and death.

Although ‘real alcohol’ is not a toxic product, drinking large amounts of alcohol could cause you alcohol intoxication and excessive alcohol use over time could lead to other health problems.

Don’t put your life at risk.
Protect yourself from methanol poisoning.

Seek medical help immediately
if you suspect symptoms of methanol poisoning.

Click to know more about methanol poisoning