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Good Ol' Methanol

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  • dropped_pie
    Anyone who makes his or her own spirits knows that the public perception is: Homemade Alcohol = Methanol = Death I ve lost count of how many times I ve
    Message 1 of 9 , Mar 1 1:05 AM
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      Anyone who makes his or her own spirits knows that the public
      perception is:

      Homemade Alcohol = Methanol = Death

      I've lost count of how many times I've explained that this just isn't
      true and I'm sure I'm not alone. The result, I think, is that the
      home-distilling community has become paranoid about methanol. Whether
      or not you agree, here is some background information that will add
      some colour next time you are drawn into the methanol conversation:


      Fact 1 - Methanol is not poisonous.

      This is true, but does need to be qualified. Methanol is not
      poisonous, but alcohol dehydrogenase (the enzyme responsible for
      breaking it down) turns it into formaldehyde, which is broken down to
      formic acid, and these two certainly are toxic. The important point
      to remember is that the toxic compounds are only produced when the
      methanol is metabolised and under normal circumstances this does not
      occur.


      Fact 2 – Ethanol is the treatment for Methanol poisoning.

      Ethanol and methanol are removed from the body via three methods:

      You breathe them out unmetabolised.
      You piss them out unmetabolised.
      You metabolise them.

      The good news is alcohol dehydrogenase prefers to break down ethanol
      – with around 10 times the affinity for ethanol that it has for
      methanol. Ethanol and methanol both naturally occur in fruit juices
      with a methanol concentration of 100 parts per million (ppm) not
      being extreme. Even unfermented fruit juice, however, also contains
      ethanol in quantities generally 20 times greater than that of the
      methanol. When ingested in this ratio the lungs and kidneys remove
      practically all the methanol while the ethanol is being metabolised
      and almost no formaldehyde is produced. Not surprisingly, if you turn
      up to hospital after drinking pure methanol they will quickly put you
      on an ethanol drip to stop the methanol from being metabolised.

      Whilst it's possible to establish what constitutes a fatal dose
      of straight methanol, when combined with ethanol it's the
      ethanol/methanol ratio that needs to be considered in determining
      toxicity. Fermentation and distillation may increase methanol
      concentration, but result in a much greater increase in ethanol
      concentration so the toxicity is actually reduced.


      Fact 3 – Methanol tastes good.

      Most people associate methanol with methylated spirits and assume
      that it has a solvent-like smell and taste. This is not correct -
      methylated spirits is 95% ethanol and although methanol was once used
      to denature it, it's too easy to remove and has been replaced by
      other chemicals that pose more of a challenge. Most methylated
      spirits contains no methanol. The truth is pure methanol actually
      tastes and smells sweet - so sweet that it's used in the
      artificial sweetener aspartame (Nutrasweet).


      Fact 4 – The diet coke might get you before the bourbon.

      The aspartame in diet drinks is metabolised to produce, among other
      things, methanol which is released soon after ingestion. Aspartame is
      10% methanol by weight and although it is consumed in small
      quantities, unlike natural sources of methanol, it is not accompanied
      by protective ethanol. Unless you add ethanol to a diet drink all the
      methanol will be converted to formaldehyde and formic acid. There is
      considerable debate about the safety of aspartame for this reason.


      Fact 5 – Adulteration (and not technique) is the enemy.

      Make no mistake, people have died from drinking bootleg alcohol
      containing methanol. The question is how did it get there? If you
      distil and don't separate the heads the ethanol would still be
      sufficient protect you from the methanol toxicity. Even the heads
      themselves contain enough ethanol that the methanol probably
      wouldn't be metabolised, but that isn't the point – you
      can't drink heads because they taste poisonous, irrespective of
      whether they are or not. The situation is self-limiting: heads taste
      so bad that a sane person couldn't drink enough of them for the
      methanol to do them any real harm.

      The truth is that poor fermentation/distillation technique won't
      kill you (just make you feel like you're going to die). To create
      a toxic level of methanol you have to physically add it – it's
      just not possible to make a palatable spirit by fermentation and
      distillation that contains enough methanol to kill. Every instance of
      fatality resulting from bootleg alcohol I have been able to find has
      been due to nice clean methanol being sold as ethanol and not from
      sloppy distilling practices. The problem is that the media regards
      all homemade spirits as the same when clearly they are not.



      The message is don't worry about methanol – it's a natural substance
      and your body is quite capable of dealing with it in the quantities
      it naturally occurs. Wine makers don't worry about the methanol
      that occurs in their wine and good wine always contains it. Your
      spirits will have a perfectly safe level of methanol as long as you
      don't add methanol to it. Sleep secure in the knowledge that it
      will be the ethanol and not the methanol that kills you.


      Cheers,
      DP
    • Harry
      ... isn t ... You ve found the same info I ve researched. :-) Good to see someone else doing serious investigations. (you didn t really
      Message 2 of 9 , Mar 1 4:07 AM
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        --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "dropped_pie" <dropped_pie@y...>
        wrote:
        >
        >
        > Anyone who makes his or her own spirits knows that the public
        > perception is:
        >
        > Homemade Alcohol = Methanol = Death
        >
        > I've lost count of how many times I've explained that this just
        isn't
        > true and I'm sure I'm not alone.
        <snip for brevity>


        You've found the same info I've researched. :-)
        Good to see someone else doing serious investigations.
        (you didn't really drop yer pie, didya?
        was it a four'n'twenty?) :-))


        Slainte!
        regards Harry
      • yttrium_nitrate
        ... Although I agree with your post about distillers being paranoid about methanol, by this logic you could say that being shot isn t lethal, its just the
        Message 3 of 9 , Mar 1 5:30 AM
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          > Fact 1 - Methanol is not poisonous.
          >
          > This is true, but does need to be qualified. Methanol is not
          > poisonous, but alcohol dehydrogenase (the enzyme responsible for
          > breaking it down) turns it into formaldehyde, which is broken down to
          > formic acid, and these two certainly are toxic. The important point
          > to remember is that the toxic compounds are only produced when the
          > methanol is metabolised and under normal circumstances this does not
          > occur.

          Although I agree with your post about distillers being paranoid about
          methanol, by this logic you could say that being shot isn't lethal,
          its just the massive loss of blood that follows that is. Or you could
          say that the Ebola virus isn't technically lethal, it is just the
          massive internal bleeding that is. Either way, you're not going to
          convince many people that Gunshot wounds, Methanol, and Ebola are safe.
        • David W Lunsford
          Hey, DP, thanks for that info, surely will be helpful as you say, and also good to know....maxtonnage
          Message 4 of 9 , Mar 1 5:11 PM
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            Hey, DP, thanks for that info, surely will be helpful as you say, and
            also good to know....maxtonnage



            At 09:05 AM 3/1/05 -0000, you wrote:
            >
            >
            >
            >Anyone who makes his or her own spirits knows that the public
            >perception is:
            >
            >(BIG SNIP)
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > Distillers list archives : http://archive.nnytech.net/
            > FAQ and other information at http://homedistiller.org
            >Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
          • Saul Sabia
            ... *shakes head* the reason being that most people are dumb. hold on a sec, i just got a news flash! i can t believe my eyes! did you know that mother s milk
            Message 5 of 9 , Mar 2 6:23 AM
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              > Message: 7
              > Date: Tue, 01 Mar 2005 13:30:33 -0000
              > From: "yttrium_nitrate" <incatare@...>
              > Subject: Re: Good Ol' Methanol
              >
              >
              > > Fact 1 - Methanol is not poisonous.
              > >
              > > This is true, but does need to be qualified. Methanol is not
              > > poisonous, but alcohol dehydrogenase (the enzyme responsible for
              > > breaking it down) turns it into formaldehyde, which is broken down to
              > > formic acid, and these two certainly are toxic. The important point
              > > to remember is that the toxic compounds are only produced when the
              > > methanol is metabolised and under normal circumstances this does not
              > > occur.
              >
              > Although I agree with your post about distillers being paranoid about
              > methanol, by this logic you could say that being shot isn't lethal,
              > its just the massive loss of blood that follows that is. Or you could
              > say that the Ebola virus isn't technically lethal, it is just the
              > massive internal bleeding that is. Either way, you're not going to
              > convince many people that Gunshot wounds, Methanol, and Ebola are safe.

              *shakes head* the reason being that most people are dumb.

              hold on a sec, i just got a news flash! i can't believe my eyes!
              did you know that mother's milk contains a deadly narcotic?
              that's right, MORPHINE has been found in both human and cow milk! yup, the
              _same_drug_ that has hooked and led millions to their deaths in seedy
              motels and dingy backstreet alleyways is actually IN the milk that we feed
              our children!

              http://tinyurl.com/6pxkw
              http://tinyurl.com/5ajvz

              ... oh, wait. the amounts found are actually only 200-500 nanograms per liter.
              that would mean that you would literally have to drink something like 1,000 liters
              to even get close to minimum-required dosages (that's about 275 gallons for us US folk).

              but _never mind_! we all must promptly panic because there is an evil,
              nasty drug in the beverage that we thought healthy for our children! quick!
              to the lawyer's office! sue the dairy conglomeration! but before we do anything
              rational.... PANIC!

              *runs around screaming in loose-bladdered hysteria*


              Saul




              __________________________________
              Celebrate Yahoo!'s 10th Birthday!
              Yahoo! Netrospective: 100 Moments of the Web
              http://birthday.yahoo.com/netrospective/
            • jcmca
              hell, DP, and you thought you were sharing something good with us. amazing how many different takes folks have on a subject. thanx a bunch for trying,
              Message 6 of 9 , Mar 2 7:11 AM
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                hell, DP, and you thought you were sharing something good with us.
                amazing how many different 'takes' folks have on a subject. thanx a
                bunch for trying, anyway. i, for one, found your info interesting.

                best!
                John

                --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "dropped_pie" <dropped_pie@y...>
                wrote:
                >
                >
                > Anyone who makes his or her own spirits knows that the public
                > perception is:
                >
                > Homemade Alcohol = Methanol = Death
                >
                > I've lost count of how many times I've explained that this just
                isn't
                > true and I'm sure I'm not alone. The result, I think, is that the
                > home-distilling community has become paranoid about methanol.
                Whether
                > or not you agree, here is some background information that will add
                > some colour next time you are drawn into the methanol conversation:
                >
                >
                > Fact 1 - Methanol is not poisonous.
                >
                > This is true, but does need to be qualified. Methanol is not
                > poisonous, but alcohol dehydrogenase (the enzyme responsible for
                > breaking it down) turns it into formaldehyde, which is broken down
                to
                > formic acid, and these two certainly are toxic. The important point
                > to remember is that the toxic compounds are only produced when the
                > methanol is metabolised and under normal circumstances this does
                not
                > occur.
                >
                >
                > Fact 2 – Ethanol is the treatment for Methanol poisoning.
                >
                > Ethanol and methanol are removed from the body via three methods:
                >
                > You breathe them out unmetabolised.
                > You piss them out unmetabolised.
                > You metabolise them.
                >
                > The good news is alcohol dehydrogenase prefers to break down ethanol
                > – with around 10 times the affinity for ethanol that it has for
                > methanol. Ethanol and methanol both naturally occur in fruit juices
                > with a methanol concentration of 100 parts per million (ppm) not
                > being extreme. Even unfermented fruit juice, however, also contains
                > ethanol in quantities generally 20 times greater than that of the
                > methanol. When ingested in this ratio the lungs and kidneys remove
                > practically all the methanol while the ethanol is being metabolised
                > and almost no formaldehyde is produced. Not surprisingly, if you
                turn
                > up to hospital after drinking pure methanol they will quickly put
                you
                > on an ethanol drip to stop the methanol from being metabolised.
                >
                > Whilst it's possible to establish what constitutes a fatal dose
                > of straight methanol, when combined with ethanol it's the
                > ethanol/methanol ratio that needs to be considered in determining
                > toxicity. Fermentation and distillation may increase methanol
                > concentration, but result in a much greater increase in ethanol
                > concentration so the toxicity is actually reduced.
                >
                >
                > Fact 3 – Methanol tastes good.
                >
                > Most people associate methanol with methylated spirits and assume
                > that it has a solvent-like smell and taste. This is not correct -
                > methylated spirits is 95% ethanol and although methanol was once
                used
                > to denature it, it's too easy to remove and has been replaced by
                > other chemicals that pose more of a challenge. Most methylated
                > spirits contains no methanol. The truth is pure methanol actually
                > tastes and smells sweet - so sweet that it's used in the
                > artificial sweetener aspartame (Nutrasweet).
                >
                >
                > Fact 4 – The diet coke might get you before the bourbon.
                >
                > The aspartame in diet drinks is metabolised to produce, among other
                > things, methanol which is released soon after ingestion. Aspartame
                is
                > 10% methanol by weight and although it is consumed in small
                > quantities, unlike natural sources of methanol, it is not
                accompanied
                > by protective ethanol. Unless you add ethanol to a diet drink all
                the
                > methanol will be converted to formaldehyde and formic acid. There
                is
                > considerable debate about the safety of aspartame for this reason.
                >
                >
                > Fact 5 – Adulteration (and not technique) is the enemy.
                >
                > Make no mistake, people have died from drinking bootleg alcohol
                > containing methanol. The question is how did it get there? If you
                > distil and don't separate the heads the ethanol would still be
                > sufficient protect you from the methanol toxicity. Even the heads
                > themselves contain enough ethanol that the methanol probably
                > wouldn't be metabolised, but that isn't the point – you
                > can't drink heads because they taste poisonous, irrespective of
                > whether they are or not. The situation is self-limiting: heads
                taste
                > so bad that a sane person couldn't drink enough of them for the
                > methanol to do them any real harm.
                >
                > The truth is that poor fermentation/distillation technique won't
                > kill you (just make you feel like you're going to die). To create
                > a toxic level of methanol you have to physically add it – it's
                > just not possible to make a palatable spirit by fermentation and
                > distillation that contains enough methanol to kill. Every instance
                of
                > fatality resulting from bootleg alcohol I have been able to find
                has
                > been due to nice clean methanol being sold as ethanol and not from
                > sloppy distilling practices. The problem is that the media regards
                > all homemade spirits as the same when clearly they are not.
                >
                >
                >
                > The message is don't worry about methanol – it's a natural
                substance
                > and your body is quite capable of dealing with it in the quantities
                > it naturally occurs. Wine makers don't worry about the methanol
                > that occurs in their wine and good wine always contains it. Your
                > spirits will have a perfectly safe level of methanol as long as you
                > don't add methanol to it. Sleep secure in the knowledge that it
                > will be the ethanol and not the methanol that kills you.
                >
                >
                > Cheers,
                > DP
              • yttrium_nitrate
                If you think that s bad, watch out for DHMO... http://www.dhmo.org ... quick! ... do anything ... tive/
                Message 7 of 9 , Mar 3 6:53 AM
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                  If you think that's bad, watch out for DHMO...

                  http://www.dhmo.org


                  >
                  > but _never mind_! we all must promptly panic because there is an evil,
                  > nasty drug in the beverage that we thought healthy for our children!
                  quick!
                  > to the lawyer's office! sue the dairy conglomeration! but before we
                  do anything
                  > rational.... PANIC!
                  >
                  > *runs around screaming in loose-bladdered hysteria*
                  >
                  >
                  > Saul
                  tive/
                • jcmca
                  we are going to have to quit our hobby as it is in our mashes in LETHAL doses! even more so in my homebrews!! the end of the world is nigh!! best! John ...
                  Message 8 of 9 , Mar 3 8:39 AM
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                    we are going to have to quit our hobby as it is in our mashes in
                    LETHAL doses! even more so in my homebrews!! the end of the world is
                    nigh!!

                    best!
                    John

                    --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "yttrium_nitrate" <incatare@h...>
                    wrote:
                    >
                    > If you think that's bad, watch out for DHMO...
                    >
                    > http://www.dhmo.org
                    >
                    >
                    > >
                    > > but _never mind_! we all must promptly panic because there is an
                    evil,
                    > > nasty drug in the beverage that we thought healthy for our
                    children!
                    > quick!
                    > > to the lawyer's office! sue the dairy conglomeration! but before
                    we
                    > do anything
                    > > rational.... PANIC!
                    > >
                    > > *runs around screaming in loose-bladdered hysteria*
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > Saul
                    > tive/
                  • David W Lunsford
                    I cant believe there is a website on DMHO...water....(learned that on distillers)...maxtonnage
                    Message 9 of 9 , Mar 3 6:39 PM
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                      I cant believe there is a website on DMHO...water....(learned that on
                      distillers)...maxtonnage








                      At 02:53 PM 3/3/05 -0000, you wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      >If you think that's bad, watch out for DHMO...
                      >
                      >http://www.dhmo.org
                      >
                      >
                      >>
                      >> but _never mind_! we all must promptly panic because there is an evil,
                      >> nasty drug in the beverage that we thought healthy for our children!
                      >quick!
                      >> to the lawyer's office! sue the dairy conglomeration! but before we
                      >do anything
                      >> rational.... PANIC!
                      >>
                      >> *runs around screaming in loose-bladdered hysteria*
                      >>
                      >>
                      >> Saul
                      >tive/
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Distillers list archives : http://archive.nnytech.net/
                      > FAQ and other information at http://homedistiller.org
                      >Yahoo! Groups Links
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
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