Wood Alcohol (Methanol)
WOOD ALCOHOL (METHANOL)
Methanol (methyl alcohol, CH 3 OH) is the simplest of the alcohols. It is the natural by-product of wood distillation—an older method of producing drinking Alcohol (ethanol). Chemically synthesized methanol is a common industrial solvent found in paint remover, cleansing agents, and antifreeze. It is used to denature the ethanol found in some of these solutions and thereby render them unfit for drinking.
Methanol ingestion is usually accidental, but some alcoholics resort to the desperate measure of consuming methanol when they cannot obtain the beverage ethanol. Persons working in poorly ventilated areas can suffer ill effects from inhaling methanol-containing products, and ingestion of methanol is considered a medical emergency. Methanol is metabolized to formaldehyde and formic acid by the same liver enzymes that break down ethanol (these are alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase). The formaldehyde and formic acid are toxic metabolites responsible for the symptoms of methanol poisoning; these appear several hours or days after methanol ingestion. Blurred vision, leading to permanent bilateral blindness, is characteristic of methanol poisoning. The accumulation of formic acid results in severe metabolic acidosis, which can rapidly precipitate coma and death. Other symptoms of methanol toxicity include dizziness, headaches, cold clammy extremities, abdominal pain, vomiting, and severe back pain.
The treatment for methanol poisoning is sodium bicarbonate, given to reverse the acidosis. In more serious cases, dialysis may be required; in addition, ethanol is given intravenously because it competitively binds to alcohol dehydrogenase, thereby slowing the production of toxic metabolites and allowing unchanged methanol to be excreted in the urine.
Klaassen, C. D. (1996). Nonmetallic environmental toxicants: Air pollutants, solvents and vapours, and pesticides, 1673-1696, In: The pharmacological basis of therapeutics Hardman, J.G., Limbird, L. E., Molinoff, P. B., Ruddon, R. W., Gilman, A. G. The pharmacological basis of therapeutics, 9th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
"Wood Alcohol (Methanol)." Encyclopedia of Drugs, Alcohol, and Addictive Behavior. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 24, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wood-alcohol-methanol
"Wood Alcohol (Methanol)." Encyclopedia of Drugs, Alcohol, and Addictive Behavior. . Retrieved February 24, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wood-alcohol-methanol
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.