Can drinking methanol cause blindness?
Today the most common cause of blindness from drinking is methanol. Methanol, otherwise known as methyl alcohol or wood alcohol, can damage the optic nerve and even kill you in high concentrations. During Prohibition, bootleggers were known to sell moonshine that contained methanol, and the practice continues abroad.
As little as 10 mL of pure methanol can cause permanent blindness by destruction of the optic nerve. Thirty mL is potentially fatal. First, methanol can be fatal due to its CNS depressant properties in the same manner as ethanol poisoning.
TYPES OF HAZARD/ EXPOSURE ACUTE HAZARDS/ SYMPTOMS FIRE Highly flammable. See Notes. EXPLOSION Vapour/air mixtures are explosive. EXPOSURE •INHALATION Cough. Dizziness. Headache. Nausea. Weakness. Visual disturbance.
- Methoxide ( C H X 3 O X − ) is the conjugate base of methanol. Methanol is very weak acid (e.g. its dissociation constant is very small), so its conjugated base is very strong.
- How to Make Wood Alcohol Through Distillation. All of your scrap wood and paper clippings can be turned into a fuel source that you can use around your home. Methanol or wood alcohol is the liquid chemical that wood gives off when it is distilled.
As little as 10 mL of pure methanol when drunk is metabolized into formic acid, which can cause permanent blindness by destruction of the optic nerve. 15 mL is potentially fatal. Although the median lethal dose is typically 100 mL (3.4 fl oz) (i.e. 1–2 mL/kg body weight of pure methanol).
- The lethal dose of isopropyl alcohol by mouth in adult humans is about 8 ounces. Another kind of poison is wood alcohol. This is methyl alcohol and it breaks down in the liver to formaldehyde. Those who survive after drinking it often suffer permanent blindness.
- About Methanol. Methanol can be produced from natural gas, coal and renewable sources such as municipal waste, biomass and recycled carbon dioxide.
- Ethanol as an antidote. Competitively blocks the formation of toxic metabolites in toxic alcohol ingestions by having a higher affinity for the enzyme Alcohol Dehydrogenase (ADH). Its chief application is in methanol and ethylene glycol ingestions, although it has been used with other toxic alcohols.
Methanol has a quick and profound effect on the body. Once ingested, the body changes methanol into formaldehyde and formic acid. Formic acid begins to build up in your body, and when it does, it does serious damage to your central nervous system.
- Methanol is toxic by two mechanisms. First, methanol can be fatal due to its CNS depressant properties in the same manner as ethanol poisoning. Methanol is converted to formaldehyde via alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and formaldehyde is converted to formic acid (formate) via aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH).
- Carbon chain on the other hand as nonpolar is repelled. Solubility of alcohols is therefore determined by the stronger of the two forces. Because of the strength of the attraction of the OH group, first three alcohols (methanol, ethanol and propanol) are completely miscible. They dissolve in water in any amount.
- Drums, totes, and cans are transported, stored, and handled by the vast majority of methanol users. Plastic containers are not recommended for long-time storage or shipment of methanol because the solvent properties of methanol may degrade the plastic, causing the containers to lose structural integrity.
Updated: 3rd October 2019