Can Moonshine Make You Go Blind? – TN Shine Co. We’ll cut to the chase. When distilled properly, moonshine cannot make you go blind. However, when distilled improperly, it is possible to get what’s known as “moonshine blindness.” Moonshine blindness was highly publicized during Prohibition to discourage people from making their own alcoholic beverages.
Although it was largely propaganda, the warning was rooted in some truth. In this article, we’ll talk about where moonshine blindness comes from and how to ensure you’re drinking quality moonshine to avoid it. What is Moonshine Blindness? The phrase “moonshine blindness” refers to blindness occurring after people drink too much methanol.
When people made their moonshine during the Prohibition era, they either didn’t know or didn’t care that methanol toxicity could lead to blindness. So, moonshine blindness has much less to do with moonshine and more to do with the distillation process.
- As you can imagine, 1920s bootleggers had much less sophisticated distillation setups than today’s professional moonshine distillers.
- What is Methanol Toxicity? The body can process small amounts of methanol.
- However, getting too much methanol can cause problems.
- This is what’s known as methanol toxicity.
It can lead to blindness or even death. Methanol is a naturally occurring chemical that’s found in a lot of fruits and vegetables. It is also a distillation byproduct. Beer and wine have, The low concentration of methanol isn’t concerning for home brewers.
Spirits, like moonshine, also have methanol but at higher concentrations. So, home distillers need to be mindful of dumping out the first 50 mL per 5 gallons of wash. Professional distillation processes automatically remove methanol from each batch. If wine and beer have methanol, why do people make such a big deal out of moonshine? In addition to wine and beer having smaller concentrations of methanol than spirits, the way methanol is introduced into the distillation process is different.
For wine and beer, methanol is spread throughout the batch evenly. In contrast, with moonshine, the methanol is concentrated in the first few milliliters coming out of the still. These first few milliliters can be potentially lethal because they have high amounts of methanol.
During Prohibition, when moonshine was becoming more and more popular, many backwoods home distillers didn’t know about methanol toxicity. So, they would inadvertently give out batches that contained enough methanol to cause toxicity and blindness. In other cases, distillers knew but didn’t care. They would even use methanol instead of ethanol because methanol is cheaper.
So, they would knowingly give people a product that potentially causes blindness. It doesn’t take much additional methanol to cause problems. Just 10 milliliters of pure methanol can cause optic nerve damage that leads to blindness. Now, not everyone who drank moonshine went blind.
A better way to avoid going blind while still drinking moonshine is by only buying your moonshine from a professional distiller instead of making it yourself or buying it from a home distiller. Illegal and unregulated spirits might contain more methanol than is safe, whether that is the distiller’s intent or not. Tips for tasters Do you have a friend or neighbor who keeps asking you to try their moonshine? The best move here is to say “thanks but no thanks,” especially if the moonshiner is a DIY person who doesn’t believe in playing by the rules.
And if any moonshiner mentions adding rubbing alcohol to their batch, run. First, figure out how you can safely spill out their batch when they aren’t looking. Then run. Why Choose Professional Produced Moonshine is Key vs. Homemade By now, y’all hopefully recognize the benefits of choosing a professional moonshine distiller over making it yourself or getting it from a friend.
- A lot of things can be done just as well at home as by a professional.
- Moonshine (and spirits, in general) is not one of them.
- The risks of accidentally getting too much methanol are just too high.
- Plus, homemade moonshine never tastes as good as a professional batch.
- Choose Tennessee Shine Co.
- For Your Moonshine Experience If you want to drink some good quality moonshine that doesn’t come with a side of methanol poisoning, look no further than Our professional distillers are some of the best in the business.
You’re welcome to stop on by anytime or use our handy map to near you that sells our moonshine. Featured Image: / Shutterstock : Can Moonshine Make You Go Blind? – TN Shine Co.
- 0.1 What alcohol causes blindness?
- 0.2 Does methanol or ethanol make you blind?
- 0.3 What is the poison in moonshine?
- 0.4 Why does methanol make you blind?
- 0.5 Is methanol in moonshine?
- 0.6 What happens if you swallow methanol?
- 0.7 How long does methanol blindness take?
- 0.8 Why we Cannot drink methanol?
- 0.9 Can you recover from methanol poisoning?
- 0.10 How do moonshiners avoid methanol?
- 0.11 Can you drink on methanol?
- 0.12 How long does it take for methanol to make you blind?
- 1 Why do I feel blind after drinking?
What alcohol causes blindness?
Alcohol Addiction Increases the Risk of Blindness The type of alcohol that has the potential to cause blindness is methanol. These substances can immediately damage the nervous system, including the eye nerves. Initially, it causes inflammation, followed by the death of nervous system tissue, which can cause blindness and lead to death.
The alcohol content of alcoholic beverages varies. Most types of alcoholic beverages that are drunk are types of ethanol compounds with the molecular formula C2H5OH. This type of alcohol can affect the central nervous system, so when it is drunk, it will certainly cause the person consuming it to lose consciousness, and in severe conditions, it can cause death.
In the manufacture of adulterated alcohol (self-mixed), it is often mixed with methanol (CH3OH) or benzene (C6H6). These materials can also cause poisoning and cause permanent nerve damage (blindness or death). The mixed material has been fused with alcohol and cannot be separated or decomposed.
- Methanol is a type of chemical substance that can cause blindness and paralysis when it enters the body.
- In mild cases, benzene causes a deficiency of erythrocytes (a condition when the level of red blood cells in the body falls below the normal range) and leukocytes (a condition when the number of white blood cells in the body falls below normal).
Meanwhile, in severe cases, benzene will cause nausea and even death due to heart and respiratory system failure. For cases of sudden blurry vision, an ophthalmologist will provide maximum therapy in the form of high-dose drug injections. The therapy given aims to reduce swelling of the optic nerve due to methanol or alcohol intoxication.
Individual responses vary from therapy given; if it is not too late, sometimes visual acuity can improve, but if there has been total tissue damage, it will be difficult to return to normal so that blindness occurs. We cannot predict the occurrence of death. However, alcohol that has been mixed with methanol is very dangerous when consumed.
Consumption of 70% alcohol that has been mixed with methanol can cause blindness and paralysis. In severe cases, it can cause cardiac arrest and death, and the cases are quite common in our society. Of course, many types of cancer are also triggered by alcohol consumption.
- Alcohol consumption can trigger cancer in several areas of the body, including the mouth, esophagus, throat, larynx (part of the respiratory system), and liver.
- In the human body, alcohol will activate several types of enzymes that trigger the development of cancer cells.
- Alcohol will also damage the DNA in the body so that some parts of the cells will grow and multiply uncontrollably.
Given the dangers that can cause everything from blindness to death, it is appropriate for all of us to stay away from alcohol and start living a healthy life without it. : Alcohol Addiction Increases the Risk of Blindness
Does methanol or ethanol make you blind?
Will Drinking Moonshine Make You Go Blind? In 1919, in anticipation of Prohibition’s impending doom, the pioneering New York toxicologist Alexander Gettler warned officials of an observed uptick in homemade stills across America. This was worrisome. “One of the things that he deeply feared was an epidemic of blindness,” says Deborah Blum, author of The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York, a book about Gettler.
“In the 1920s, that in fact happened.” Indeed, between 1920 and 1933 tens of thousands suffered paralysis or blindness through the consumption of homemade hooch. Hundreds, it is estimated, perished. So yes it’s true: moonshine can put your lights out. But why? Look no further than CH 3 OH, or methanol.
The chemical is considered the simplest form of alcohol, merely a methyl group linked to a hydroxyl one. But that simplicity doesn’t equate to weakness. Quite the opposite. “Only ten milliliters of methanol consumption can cause permanent blindness,” asserts Dr.
Bruce Goldberger, chief of forensic medicine and director of toxicology at the University of Florida’s College of Medicine. In color and odor, methanol closely resembles ethanol, the kind of alcohol that’s human-safe. The only catch is: “If you drink as much methanol as ethanol, you’ll die,” Goldberger says.
So it pays to be scrupulous here. The reason for methanol’s toxicity lies in our metabolism. Ethanol, when consumed, is broken down by the body into two harmless compounds, carbon dioxide and H 2 0. Methanol, on the other hand, becomes formaldehyde, which is nasty stuff.
- One of the first parts of our nervous system that this poison attacks is the optic nerve.
- A natural byproduct of the distillation process, methanol is normally removed from liquor.
- But mistakes happen—a shoddy ‘shiner might leave it in by mistake.
- A still also could be constructed of poor materials, allowing dangerous chemicals like lead, which has also been linked to, to leach in.
Paramount when consuming moonshine safely is being aware of where it came from. Thus, Blum, who grew up in Georgia and Louisiana, recalls a rule that her father lived by: “Know your ‘shiner.” You also want to know what is actually being distilled. Moonshine’s origins harken back to the late eighteenth century, when Scots-Irish flocked into the hills of Appalachia and brought their liquor recipes with them.
Corn mash was typically used, but you can put any organic matter into a still—one infamous case from the Prohibition era involved shiners in Tennessee caught distilling poison ivy. Again, know your ‘shiner, Today, with a special license and fee, moonshine is to produce in America; incidents of the kind experienced in yesteryear are few and far between.
But elsewhere in the world, in places like Pakistan and India that have liquor bans, drinking disasters are commonplace. One tragic accident in involved more than 100 fatalities from a bad batch of hooch. So remember: “Unless the source is reputable,” stresses Goldberger, “be cautious about drinking moonshine.” : Will Drinking Moonshine Make You Go Blind?
What is the poison in moonshine?
Consumption of 10 ml or more of methanol is lethal, meaning that drinking just 10 milliliters of methanol-containing moonshine is fatal. Overdosing on any type of alcohol, especially methanol moonshine poisoning, can cause alcohol poisoning.
Why does methanol make you blind?
Cause – Methanol has a moderate to high toxicity in humans. 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).
Is methanol in moonshine?
Methanol: The Toxic Side Of Moonshine – You may have heard stories about the dangers of moonshine, or any illegally distilled liquor. The real culprit of these true stories, however, is methanol. Methanol, or methyl alcohol, is a byproduct of the distilling process.
How much methanol is in moonshine?
How Much Methanol is in Moonshine? The amount of methanol produced during methanol can vary based on the strain of yeast used. Typically, about 10% of the alcohol created can be methanol. If your fermentation creates 10% alcohol in total, you are looking at 1% of your total mash to be methanol.
Can you recover from methanol blindness?
Background – The clinical manifestation following methanol toxicity accounts for a life-threatening problem that contributes to metabolic disorders, neurological complications, blindness, and even death. There is no completely effective treatment to retain the patient’s vision.
What happens if you swallow methanol?
Methanol: Systemic Agent
CAS #: 67-56-1 RTECS #: PC1400000 UN #: 1230 (Guide 131)
Carbinol Methyl alcohol Wood alcohol
Methanol is a toxic alcohol that is used industrially as a solvent, pesticide, and alternative fuel source. It also occurs naturally in humans, animals, and plants. Foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, fruit juices, fermented beverages, and diet soft drinks containing aspartame are the primary sources of methanol in the human body.
- Most methanol poisonings occur as a result of drinking beverages contaminated with methanol or from drinking methanol-containing products.
- In the industrial setting, inhalation of high concentrations of methanol vapor and absorption of methanol through the skin are as effective as the oral route in producing toxic effects.
The characteristic pungent (alcohol) odor of methanol does not provide sufficient warning of low levels of exposure.
Indoor Air: Methanol can be released into indoor air as a liquid spray (aerosol). Water: Methanol can be used to contaminate water. Food: Methanol may be used to contaminate food. Outdoor Air: Methanol can be released into outdoor air as a liquid spray (aerosol). Agricultural: If methanol is released into the air as a liquid spray (aerosol), it has the potential to contaminate agricultural products.
Methanol can be absorbed into the body by inhalation, ingestion, skin contact, or eye contact. Ingestion is an important route of exposure. First Responders should use a NIOSH-certified Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) with a Level A protective suit when entering an area with an unknown contaminant or when entering an area where the concentration of the contaminant is unknown.
Level A protection should be used until monitoring results confirm the contaminant and the concentration of the contaminant. NOTE: Safe use of protective clothing and equipment requires specific skills developed through training and experience. Select when the greatest level of skin, respiratory, and eye protection is required.
This is the maximum protection for workers in danger of exposure to unknown chemical hazards or levels above the IDLH or greater than the AEGL-2.
A NIOSH-certified CBRN full-face-piece SCBA operated in a pressure-demand mode or a pressure-demand supplied air hose respirator with an auxiliary escape bottle. A Totally-Encapsulating Chemical Protective (TECP) suit that provides protection against CBRN agents. Chemical-resistant gloves (outer). Chemical-resistant gloves (inner). Chemical-resistant boots with a steel toe and shank. Coveralls, long underwear, and a hard hat worn under the TECP suit are optional items.
Select when the highest level of respiratory protection is necessary but a lesser level of skin protection is required. This is the minimum protection for workers in danger of exposure to unknown chemical hazards or levels above the IDLH or greater than AEGL-2.
A NIOSH-certified CBRN full-face-piece SCBA operated in a pressure-demand mode or a pressure-demand supplied air hose respirator with an auxiliary escape bottle. A hooded chemical-resistant suit that provides protection against CBRN agents. Chemical-resistant gloves (outer). Chemical-resistant gloves (inner). Chemical-resistant boots with a steel toe and shank. Coveralls, long underwear, a hard hat worn under the chemical-resistant suit, and chemical-resistant disposable boot-covers worn over the chemical-resistant suit are optional items.
Select when the contaminant and concentration of the contaminant are known and the respiratory protection criteria factors for using Air Purifying Respirators (APR) or Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPR) are met. This level is appropriate when decontaminating patient/victims.
A NIOSH-certified CBRN tight-fitting APR with a canister-type gas mask or CBRN PAPR for air levels greater than AEGL-2. A NIOSH-certified CBRN PAPR with a loose-fitting face-piece, hood, or helmet and a filter or a combination organic vapor, acid gas, and particulate cartridge/filter combination or a continuous flow respirator for air levels greater than AEGL-1. A hooded chemical-resistant suit that provides protection against CBRN agents. Chemical-resistant gloves (outer). Chemical-resistant gloves (inner). Chemical-resistant boots with a steel toe and shank. Escape mask, face shield, coveralls, long underwear, a hard hat worn under the chemical-resistant suit, and chemical-resistant disposable boot-covers worn over the chemical-resistant suit are optional items.
Select when the contaminant and concentration of the contaminant are known and the concentration is below the appropriate occupational exposure limit or less than AEGL-1 for the stated duration times.
Limited to coveralls or other work clothes, boots, and gloves.
Methanol reacts violently with strong oxidants, causing a fire and explosion hazard.
Mixtures of methanol vapor and air are explosive. Lower explosive (flammable) limit in air (LEL), 6.0%; upper explosive (flammable) limit in air (UEL), 36%. Agent presents a vapor explosion and poison (toxic) hazard indoors, outdoors, or in sewers. Run-off to sewers may create an explosion hazard. Containers may explode when heated.
Methanol is highly flammable. The agent will be easily ignited by heat, sparks, or flames. Fire will produce irritating, corrosive, and/or toxic gases. Vapors may travel to the source of ignition and flash back. Run-off to sewers may create a fire hazard. Caution: The agent has a very low flash point. Use of water spray when fighting fires may be inefficient. For small fires, use dry chemical, carbon dioxide, water spray, or alcohol-resistant foam. For large fires, use water spray, fog, or alcohol-resistant foam. Move containers from the fire area if it is possible to do so without risk to personnel. Dike fire control water for later disposal; do not scatter the agent. Use water spray or fog; do not use straight streams. For fire involving tanks or car/trailer loads, fight the fire from maximum distance or use unmanned hose holders or monitor nozzles. Cool containers with flooding quantities of water until well after the fire is out. Withdraw immediately in case of rising sound from venting safety devices or discoloration of tanks. Always stay away from tanks engulfed in fire. For massive fire, use unmanned hose holders or monitor nozzles; if this is impossible, withdraw from the area and let the fire burn. Run-off from fire control or dilution water may cause pollution. If the situation allows, control and properly dispose of run-off (effluent).
If a tank, rail car, or tank truck is involved in a fire, isolate it for 0.5 mi (800 m) in all directions; also consider initial evacuation for 0.5 mi (800 m) in all directions. This agent is not included in the DOT ERG 2004 Table of Initial Isolation and Protective Action Distances. In the DOT ERG 2004 orange-bordered section of the guidebook, there are public safety recommendations to isolate a methanol (Guide 131) spill or leak area immediately for at least 150 ft (50 m) in all directions.
Methanol vapors may be heavier than air. They will spread along the ground and collect and stay in poorly-ventilated, low-lying, or confined areas (e.g., sewers, basements, and tanks). Hazardous concentrations may develop quickly in enclosed, poorly-ventilated, or low-lying areas. Keep out of these areas. Stay upwind. Liquid agent is lighter than water.
Health: 1 Flammability: 3 Reactivity: 0 Special:
OSHA: 91 NIOSH: 2000, 3800
References are provided for the convenience of the reader and do not imply endorsement by NIOSH.
AIR MATRIX Allen TM, Falconer TM, Cisper ME, Borgerding AJ, Wilkerson CW Jr., Real-time analysis of methanol in air and water by membrane introduction mass spectrometry. Anal Chem 73(20):4830-4835.De Paula PP, Santos E, De Freitas FT, De Andrade JB, Determination of methanol and ethanol by gas chromatography following air sampling onto florisil cartridges and their concentrations at urban sites in the three largest cities in Brazil. Talanta 49(2):245-252.Leibrock E, Slemr J, Method for measurement of volatile oxygenated hydrocarbons in ambient air. Atmos Environ 31(20):3329-3339. Marley NA, Gaffney JS, A comparison of flame ionization and ozone chemiluminescence for the determination of atmospheric hydrocarbons. Atmos Environ 32(8):1435-1444. NIOSH, NMAM Method 2000 Methanol. In: NIOSH Manual of analytical methods.4th ed. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication 94-113. OSHA, Methyl Alcohol Method 91. Salt Lake City, UT.U.S. Department of Labor, Organic Methods Evaluation Branch, OSHA Salt Lake Technical Center. Qin T, Xu X, Polak T, Pacakova V, Stulik K, Jech L, A simple method for the trace determination of methanol, ethanol, acetone, and pentane in human breath and in the ambient air by preconcentration on solid sorbents followed by gas chromatography. Talanta 44(9):1683-1690. Reichert J, Coerdt W, Ache HJ, Development of a surface acoustic wave sensor array for the detection of methanol in fuel vapours. Sens Actuators B: Chem 13(1-3):293-296. Tyras H, Spectrophotometric determination of methyl alcohol in the atmosphere. Z Gesamte Hyg 35(2):96-97. OTHER No references were identified for this sampling matrix for this agent. SOIL MATRIX Poole SK, Poole CF, Chromatographic models for the sorption of neutral organic compounds by soil from water and air. J Chromatogr A 845(1-2):381-400. SURFACES Almuzara C, Cos O, Baeza M, Gabriel D, Valero F, Methanol determination in Pichia pastoris cultures by flow injection analysis. Biotechnol Lett 24(5):413-417. WATER Blanco M, Coello J, Iturriaga H, Maspoch S, Porcel M, Simultaneous enzymatic spectrophotometric determination of ethanol and methanol by use of artificial neural networks for calibration. Anal Chim Acta 398(1):83-92.Martinezsegura G, Rivera MI, Garcia LA, Methanol analysis by gas-chromatography–comparative-study using 3 different columns. J Agric Univ Puerto Rico 69(2):135-144.Pettersson J, Roeraade J, Quantitative accuracy in the gas chromatographic analysis of solvent mixtures. J Chromatogr A 985(1-2):21-27. Wilson LA, Ding JH, Woods AE, Gas-chromatographic determination and pattern-recognition analysis of methanol and fusel oil concentrations in whiskeys. J Assoc Off Anal Chem 74(2):248-256.
Adverse health effects from methanol poisoning may not become apparent until after an asymptomatic period of 1 to 72 hours. Methanol’s toxicity is due to its metabolic products. The by-products of methanol metabolism cause an accumulation of acid in the blood (metabolic acidosis), blindness, and death. Initial adverse health effects due to methanol poisoning include drowsiness, a reduced level of consciousness (CNS depression), confusion, headache, dizziness, and the inability to coordinate muscle movement (ataxia). Other adverse health effects may include nausea, vomiting (emesis), and heart and respiratory (cardiopulmonary) failure. Prognosis is poor in patient/victims with coma or seizure and severe metabolic acidosis (pH <7). Early on after methanol exposure, there may be a relative absence of adverse health effects. This does not imply insignificant toxicity. Methanol toxicity worsens as the degree of metabolic acidosis increases, and thus, becomes more severe as the time between exposure and treatment increases.
Irritation, redness, and pain.
Ingestion of methanol may cause a wide range of adverse health effects:
Neurological: headache, dizziness, agitation, acute mania, amnesia, decreased level of consciousness including coma, and seizure. Gastrointestinal: Nausea, vomiting, lack of an appetite (anorexia), severe abdominal pain, gastrointestinal bleeding (hemorrhage), diarrhea, liver function abnormalities, and inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis). Ophthalmologic: visual disturbances, blurred vision, sensitivity to light (photophobia), visual hallucinations (misty vision, skin over the eyes, snowstorm, dancing spots, flashes), partial to total loss of vision, and rarely eye pain. Visual examination may reveal abnormal findings. Fixed dilated pupils are a sign of severe exposure to methanol. Other: Electrolyte imbalances. Kidney failure, blood in the urine (hematuria), and muscle death at the cellular level (rhabdomyolysis) have been reported in severe poisonings. Fatal cases often present with fast heart rate (tachycardia) or slow heart rate (bradycardia) and an increased rate of respiration. Low blood pressure (hypotension) and respiratory arrest occur when death is imminent.
Irritation. See Ingestion Exposure.
The purpose of decontamination is to make an individual and/or their equipment safe by physically removing toxic substances quickly and effectively. Care should be taken during decontamination, because absorbed agent can be released from clothing and skin as a gas.
Position the decontamination corridor upwind and uphill of the hot zone. The warm zone should include two decontamination corridors. One decontamination corridor is used to enter the warm zone and the other for exiting the warm zone into the cold zone. The decontamination zone for exiting should be upwind and uphill from the zone used to enter. Decontamination area workers should wear appropriate PPE. See the PPE section of this card for detailed information. A solution of detergent and water (which should have a pH value of at least 8 but should not exceed a pH value of 10.5) should be available for use in decontamination procedures. Soft brushes should be available to remove contamination from the PPE. Labeled, durable 6-mil polyethylene bags should be available for disposal of contaminated PPE.
The following methods can be used to decontaminate an individual:
Decontamination of First Responder:
Begin washing PPE of the first responder using soap and water solution and a soft brush. Always move in a downward motion (from head to toe). Make sure to get into all areas, especially folds in the clothing. Wash and rinse (using cold or warm water) until the contaminant is thoroughly removed. Remove PPE by rolling downward (from head to toe) and avoid pulling PPE off over the head. Remove the SCBA after other PPE has been removed. Place all PPE in labeled durable 6-mil polyethylene bags.
Decontamination of Patient/Victim:
Remove the patient/victim from the contaminated area and into the decontamination corridor. Remove all clothing (at least down to their undergarments) and place the clothing in a labeled durable 6-mil polyethylene bag. Thoroughly wash and rinse (using cold or warm water) the contaminated skin of the patient/victim using a soap and water solution. Be careful not to break the patient/victim’s skin during the decontamination process, and cover all open wounds. Cover the patient/victim to prevent shock and loss of body heat. Move the patient/victim to an area where emergency medical treatment can be provided.
Initial treatment is primarily supportive of respiratory and cardiovascular function. The goal of treatment is to either prevent the conversion of methanol to toxic metabolites or to rapidly remove the toxic metabolites and correct metabolic and fluid abnormalities.
Immediately remove the patient/victim from the source of exposure. Immediately wash eyes with large amounts of tepid water for at least 15 minutes. Seek medical attention immediately.
Immediately remove the patient/victim from the source of exposure. Ensure that the patient/victim has an unobstructed airway. Do not induce vomiting (emesis). Seek medical attention immediately.
Immediately remove the patient/victim from the source of exposure. Evaluate respiratory function and pulse. Ensure that the patient/victim has an unobstructed airway. If shortness of breath occurs or breathing is difficult (dyspnea), administer oxygen. Assist ventilation as required. Always use a barrier or bag-valve-mask device. If breathing has ceased (apnea), provide artificial respiration. Seek medical attention immediately.
Immediately remove the patient/victim from the source of exposure. See the Decontamination section for patient/victim decontamination procedures. Seek medical attention immediately.
Antidotes fomepizole or ethanol should be administered intravenously as soon as possible to block the conversion of methanol to formic acid and prevent acidosis. Fomepizole is preferred as its efficacy and safety have been demonstrated, and its therapeutic dose is more easily maintained.
Once the patient/victim has become acidotic, administration of fomepizole or ethanol may not provide much benefit, but they may be administered at the discretion of the physician in charge. Hemodialysis is the most effective form of treatment for an acidotic patient/victim. Folinic acid (leucovorin) should also be administered intravenously to increase the rate at which formate is metabolized into less toxic chemicals.
The most common permanent adverse health effects following severe methanol poisoning are damage to or death of the nerve leading from the eye to the brain (optic neuropathy or atrophy), resulting in blindness; disease caused by damage to a particular region of the brain, resulting in difficulty walking and moving properly (Parkinsonism); damage to the brain caused by exposure to toxins, resulting in abnormal thought (encephalopathy); and damage to the peripheral nervous system.
Methanol is not suspected to be a carcinogen. Chronic or repeated exposure to methanol is suspected to be a developmental toxicity risk. It is unknown whether chronic or repeated exposure to methanol is a reproductive toxicity risk. Methanol may cause birth defects of the central nervous system in humans.
Chronic poisoning from repeated exposure to methanol vapor may produce inflammation of the eye (conjunctivitis), recurrent headaches, giddiness, insomnia, stomach disturbances, and visual failure. The most noted health consequences of longer-term exposure to lower levels of methanol are a broad range of effects on the eye.
Consult with the Incident Commander regarding the agent dispersed, dissemination method, level of PPE required, location, geographic complications (if any), and the approximate number of remains. Coordinate responsibilities and prepare to enter the scene as part of the evaluation team along with the FBI HazMat Technician, local law enforcement evidence technician, and other relevant personnel. Begin tracking remains using waterproof tags.
Wear PPE until all remains are deemed free of contamination. Establish a preliminary (holding) morgue. Gather evidence, and place it in a clearly labeled impervious container. Hand any evidence over to the FBI. Remove and tag personal effects. Perform a thorough external evaluation and a preliminary identification check. See the Decontamination section for decontamination procedures. Decontaminate remains before they are removed from the incident site.
See Guidelines for Mass Fatality Management During Terrorist Incidents Involving Chemical Agents, U.S. Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command (SBCCOM), November, 2001 for detailed recommendations.
NIOSH REL :
STEL (skin): 250 ppm (325 mg/m 3 ) TWA (skin): 200 ppm (260 mg/m 3 )
OSHA PEL :
TWA (8-hour): 200 ppm (260 mg/m 3 )
ACGIH TLV :
STEL (skin): 250 ppm TLV (skin): 200 ppm
NIOSH IDLH : 6,000 ppm
DOE TEEL :
TEEL-0: 250 mg/m 3 TEEL-1: 694 mg/m 3 TEEL-2: 2,750 mg/m 3 TEEL-3: 9,300 mg/m 3
AIHA ERPG :
ERPG-1: 200 ppm ERPG-2: 1,000 ppm ERPG-3: 5,000 ppm
|10 min||30 min||60 min||4 hr||8 hr|
|AEGL 1 (discomfort, non-disabling) – ppm||670 ppm||670 ppm||530 ppm||340 ppm||270 ppm|
|AEGL 2 (irreversible or other serious, long-lasting effects or impaired ability to escape) – ppm||11,000 ppm*||4,000 ppm||2,100 ppm||730 ppm||520 ppm|
|AEGL 3 (life-threatening effects or death) – ppm||**||14,000 ppm*||7,200 ppm*||2,400 ppm||1,600 ppm|
Lower Explosion Limit (LEL) = 55,000 ppm * = > 10% LEL; ** = > 50% LEL AEGL 3 – 10 min = ** 40,000 ppm For values denoted as * safety consideration against the hazard(s) of explosion(s) must be taken into account For values denoted as ** extreme safey considerations against the hazard(s) of explosion(s) must be taken into account Level of Distinct Order Awareness (LOA) = 8.9 ppm IMPORTANT NOTE: Interim AEGLs are established following review and consideration by the National Advisory Committee for AEGLs (NAC/AEGL) of public comments on Proposed AEGLs. Interim AEGLs are available for use by organizations while awaiting NRC/NAS peer review and publication of Final AEGLs. Changes to Interim values and Technical Support Documents may occur prior to publication of Final AEGL values. In some cases, revised Interim values may be posted on this Web site, but the revised Interim Technical Support Document for the chemical may be subject to change. (Further information is available through ). The following methods can be used to decontaminate the environment/spillage disposal:
Do not touch or walk through the spilled agent if at all possible. However, if you must, personnel should wear the appropriate PPE during environmental decontamination. See the PPE section of this card for detailed information. Keep combustibles (e.g., wood, paper, and oil) away from the spilled agent. Use water spray to reduce vapors or divert vapor cloud drift. Avoid allowing water runoff to contact the spilled agent. Do not direct water at the spill or the source of the leak. Stop the leak if it is possible to do so without risk to personnel, and turn leaking containers so that gas rather than liquid escapes. Prevent entry into waterways, sewers, basements, or confined areas. Isolate the area until gas has dispersed. Ventilate the area.
Agents can seep into the crevices of equipment making it dangerous to handle. The following methods can be used to decontaminate equipment:
Chemical Formula: CH 3 OH Aqueous solubility: Soluble Boiling Point: 148.5°F (64.7°C) Density: Liquid: 0.79 g/cm 3 at 68°F/39°F (20°C/4°C) Vapor: 1.11 (air = 1) Flammability: Highly flammable Flashpoint: 54°F (12°C)
Ionization potential: 10.84 eV Log K benzene-water : Not established/determined Log K ow (estimated): -0.77 Melting Point: -144°F (-97.8°C) Molecular Mass: 32.04
Soluble In: Miscible with most organic solvents. Specific Gravity: 0.79 Vapor Pressure: 96 mm Hg at 68°F (20°C) 127 mm Hg at 77°F (25°C) Volatility: Not established/determined
Shipping Name: Methanol Identification Number: 1230 (Guide 131) Hazardous Class or Division: 3 Subsidiary Hazardous Class or Division: 6.1 Label: Flammable Liquid Poison (Toxic) Placard Image:
Alcohol, methyl Alcool methylique (French) Alcool metilico (Italian) Bieleski’s solution Coat-B1400 Colonial spirit(s) Columbian spirit(s) Eureka Products Criosine Disinfectant Eureka Products, Criosine Freers Elm Arrester Ideal Concentrated Wood Preservative Metanol (Spanish) Metanolo (Italian)
Methyl hydrate Methyl hydroxide Methylalkohol (German) Methylol Metylowy alkohol (Polish) Monohydroxymethane Pyroligneous spirit Pyroxylic spirit(s) Surflo-B17 Wilbur-Ellis Smut-Guard Wood naphtha Wood spirit X-Cide 402 Industrial Bactericide
In the event of a poison emergency, call the poison center immediately at 1-800-222-1222. If the person who is poisoned cannot wake up, has a hard time breathing, or has convulsions, call 911 emergency services. For information on who to contact in an emergency, see the CDC website at or call the CDC public response hotline at (888) 246-2675 (English), (888) 246-2857 (Español), or (866) 874-2646 (TTY). The user should verify compliance of the cards with the relevant STATE or TERRITORY legislation before use. NIOSH, CDC 2003. : Methanol: Systemic Agent
Is antifreeze in moonshine?
Safety – Poorly produced moonshine can be contaminated, mainly from materials used in the construction of the still, Stills employing automotive radiators as condensers are particularly dangerous; in some cases, glycol produced from antifreeze can be a problem.
- Radiators used as condensers could also contain lead at the connections to the plumbing.
- Using these methods has resulted in blindness or lead poisoning in those who consumed tainted liquor.
- In the Prohibition -era United States, many died from ingesting unhealthy substances with their moonshine.
- Consumption of lead-tainted moonshine is a serious risk factor for saturnine gout, a very painful but treatable medical condition that damages the kidneys and joints.
Although methanol is not produced in toxic amounts by fermentation of sugars from grain starches, contamination is still possible by unscrupulous distillers using cheap methanol to increase the apparent strength of the product. Moonshine can be made both more palatable and perhaps less dangerous by discarding the “foreshot” – the first 50–150 millilitres (1.8–5.3 imp fl oz; 1.7–5.1 US fl oz) of alcohol that drip from the condenser.
Because methanol vaporizes at a lower temperature than ethanol it is commonly believed that the foreshot contains most of the methanol, if any, from the mash. However, research shows this is not the case, and methanol is present until the very end of the distillation run. Despite this, distillers will usually collect the foreshots until the temperature of the still reaches 80 °C (176 °F).
Additionally, the head that comes immediately after the foreshot typically contains small amounts of other undesirable compounds, such as acetone and various aldehydes, Fusel alcohols are other undesirable byproducts of fermentation that are contained in the “aftershot,” and are also typically discarded. Former West Virginia moonshiner John Bowman explains the workings of a still. (November 1996, American Folklife Center )
How long does methanol blindness take?
Visual disturbances generally develop between 18 and 48 hours after methanol ingestion and range from mild photophobia and misty or blurred vision to markedly reduced visual acuity and complete blindness.
Why we Cannot drink methanol?
Nineteen people in Costa Rica have died after consuming alcohol tainted with harmful levels of methanol. The Costa Rican Ministry of Health has confirmed that out of these fatalities, 14 were men and five were women, all were between the ages of 32 and 72, and occurred across various cities in Costa Rica,
The U.S. Department of State confirmed that no U.S. citizen’s illness or death has been related to the consumption of adulterated alcohol in Costa Rica. All victims identified so far have been Costa Rican, and did not consume the alcohol at hotels. The health ministry has confiscated about 30,000 containers of alcohol labeled as Guaro Montano, Guaro Gran Apache, Star Welsh and Aguardiente Molotov, after identifying toxic levels of methanol in them.
They have advised the general public to avoid consuming these alcoholic beverages until further investigations are completed and the sources of counterfeit products have been found. Costa Rica President Carlos Alvarado Quesada tweeted out last Friday that he has instructed authorities to continue gathering data in order to identify the sources responsible for these deaths.
- While Costa Rica is now making headlines, in recent years there have been numerous outbreaks related to tainted alcohol in Cambodia, Czech Republic and Ecuador, among other countries.
- Some outbreaks have affected as many as 800 victims with mortality rates greater than 30%, according to the World Health Organization,
In India, 154 people died and over 200 were hospitalized this year alone after drinking unregulated moonshine. Methanol poisoning typically occurs due to the consumption of “adulterated counterfeit or informally produced spirit drinks,” according to the World Health Organization,
Here’s what you need to know about tainted alcohol and how to avoid being a victim of methanol poisoning. Methanol is a widely available chemical that is used in everyday household products. Methanol, otherwise known as methyl alcohol, has many industrial applications and can be found in household items such as varnishes, antifreeze, and windscreen wash.
Methanol is also found in things we consume – trace amounts are found naturally in fruit juices, fermented alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages at non-toxic levels. Low concentrations of naturally present methanol are not harmful, but higher concentrations may be toxic.
- Since methanol is a product of fermentation, low levels of methanol are detected in all beer and spirits, but these low concentrations are not toxic when consumed.
- Harm can be incurred when distillation processes are ill managed, or more commonly, methanol is deliberately added to alcoholic beverages and methanol levels exceed 10-220 mg/L.
When ingested, the body metabolizes methanol into formaldehyde and formic acid, which in large amounts are toxic and even fatal. Methanol levels in the blood exceeding approximately 500 mg/L is toxic if left untreated. The onset of methanol poisoning symptoms do not appear immediately after alcohol consumption.
- Methanol poisoning symptoms take a while to surface.
- The consumed methanol must be metabolized, and toxic levels of formic acid must accumulate in the body.
- In the first few hours, a person will experience drowsiness, feel unsteady and disinhibited.
- Eventually these symptoms will escalate into a headache, vomiting, abdominal pain and vertigo.
Patients may also hyperventilate or feel out of breath, and even experience convulsions, and permanent visual impairment. Most victims seek medical care after a significant delay, which contributes to the high level of morbidity and mortality. Misleading bottle design, labeling, and cheaper prices often cause consumers to unknowingly purchase and consume tainted beverages.
Unregulated, illegal production and distribution of alcoholic drinks takes place worldwide. Cheaper alcohol is particularly attractive to low-income consumers and people who are alcohol dependent. Tourists visiting foreign bars, shops and vacation spots with high alcohol consumption are also at a higher risk.
The main objective of treatment is to prevent further metabolism of methanol. If you suspect someone is a victim of methanol poisoning seek immediate medical help. Ethanol or fomepizole administration, intubation, or mechanical ventilation are the primary forms of treatment.
These are meant to prevent further metabolism of methanol and rapidly remove methanol from the body. You can protect yourself from methanol poisoning. Avoid purchasing or producing illegal alcoholic drinks and be cautious when purchasing alcoholic beverages at informal settings or from vendors who are not licensed to sell alcohol, especially if it is being sold at suspiciously cheap prices.
Avoid all unlabeled alcoholic beverages or labels that are poorly printed with broken seals. These are likely counterfeit and potentially toxic Eden David is a rising senior at Columbia University majoring in neuroscience, matriculating into medical school in 2020 and working for ABC News’ Medical Unit.
Can you recover from methanol poisoning?
Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes – Methanol is a dangerous chemical, which if ingested can be deadly. The key to the management of methanol toxicity is to recognize it and prevent it. Providers caring for a patient with methanol exposure or undifferentiated metabolic acidosis, particularly with visual symptoms, should consult a medical toxicologist or poison center for experienced expert guidance.
- Physicians, nurses, and pharmacists should play a proactive role in educating the public about the proper storage of chemicals containing this agent, such as windshield washer fluid so that they are out of the reach of children.
- Further, people who work in an industry where methanol fumes are generated should utilize proper protective equipment.
If the chemical is ingested or there is significant topical exposure, an immediate call to the poison center or visit to the nearest emergency department is recommended. Outcomes When prompt diagnosis and treatment occur, patients often recover. Retinal toxicity and basal ganglia toxicity may result in permanent symptoms.
How do moonshiners avoid methanol?
If you love your moonshine, you might be curious about the distillation process and want to try it yourself. You’ve probably also heard horror stories about people who get sick and even die from methanol poisoning. To distill moonshine without any methanol, you must discard the first portion of your distillate containing poisonous compounds.
Can you drink on methanol?
Abstract – Methanol, a potent toxicant in humans, occurs naturally at a low level in most alcoholic beverages without causing harm. However, illicit drinks made from “industrial methylated spirits” can cause severe and even fatal illness. Since documentation of a no-adverse-effect level for methanol is nonexistent in the literature a key question, from the public health perspective, is what is the maximum concentration of methanol in an alcoholic drink that an adult human could consume without risking toxicity due to its methanol content? Published information about methanol-intoxicated patients is reviewed and combined with findings in studies in volunteers given small doses of methanol, as well as occupational exposure limits (OELs), to indicate a tolerable (“safe”) daily dose of methanol in an adult as 2 g and a toxic dose as 8 g.
The simultaneous ingestion of ethanol has no appreciable effect on the proposed “safe” and “toxic” doses when considering exposure over several hours. Thus, assuming that an adult consumes 4 x 25-ml standard measures of a drink containing 40% alcohol by volume over a period of 2 h, the maximum tolerable concentration (MTC) of methanol in such a drink would be 2% (v/v) by volume.
However, this value only allows a safety factor of 4 to cover variation in the volume consumed and for the effects of malnutrition (i.e., folate deficiency), ill health and other personal factors (i.e., ethnicity). In contrast, the current EU general limit for naturally occurring methanol of 10 g methanol/l ethanol provides a greater margin of safety.
How long does it take for methanol to make you blind?
Visual disturbances generally develop between 18 and 48 hours after methanol ingestion and range from mild photophobia and misty or blurred vision to markedly reduced visual acuity and complete blindness.
Can methanol blindness be cured?
Background – The clinical manifestation following methanol toxicity accounts for a life-threatening problem that contributes to metabolic disorders, neurological complications, blindness, and even death. There is no completely effective treatment to retain the patient’s vision.
Which of the following alcohol causes blindness and death?
(c) Unlike ethanol, drinking methanol, even in a small quantity can be fatal leading to permanent blindness and even death. Methanol damages the optic nerve causing permanent blindness in a person. This happens because methanol is oxidised to methanal in the liver of a person.
Why do I feel blind after drinking?
Short term effects – There are a number of short term effects which alcohol has on your eyesight and, while not serious, they make it unsafe for you to drive in the hours after having consumed alcohol. The most common effect is double vision, or blurry vision, brought on by heavy drinking.
This occurs as a result of weakened eye muscle coordination as alcohol is a depressant, slowing your reaction times and impairing coordination. Over time, alcohol consumption can actually cause permanent damage to your brain cells and neurotransmitters, further weakening the eye muscles and distorting vision.
Another effect of decreased reaction times is the iris taking longer to contract, which is the process of making the pupil smaller. The pupil allows light into the eye but, if the iris doesn’t contract quickly enough when exposed to bright light, it lets far too much light into the eye.
This can make it difficult to see and is one of the reasons that driving whilst under the influence of alcohol is so dangerous – not to mention the general physical clumsiness that comes with having consumed a few drinks. Studies show that being at the legal driving limit in terms of blood alcohol level actually reduces the eye’s ability to adjust for brightness by 30%,
Too much alcohol can also decrease your contrast sensitivity, making it more difficult for you to differentiate between multiple colours and shades. A third side effect of drinking excessively is a condition called myokymia, also known as eyelid twitching,