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What Is Wood Alcohol, Is it Okay to Drink It?


Wood alcohol? What is that? Is some alcohol that made of wood?’

No, the answer is negative. Wood alcohol may not be a kind of healthy drinkable alcohol that you think it is.

But what wood alcohol really is? Let’s start to learn more about it step by step.

Table of Contents:

1. Definition of Wood Alcohol

2. Can I Drink Wood Alcohol?

#1. Wood Alcohol’s Definition – What Is It

Generally speaking, wood alcohol is an alcohol chemical, which used to be produced mainly by the wood’s destructive distillation.

Some names are more common for wood alcohol – Methanol or Methyl alcohol.

Yes, wood alcohol is just methanol, the simplest alcohol. The name sounds familiar, right?

Actually, we’ve been seeing and using wood alcohol every day while we didn’t realize.

What is wood alcohol used for?

For example, wood alcohol is a must for the fuels industry.

The various vehicles we see on the street every day, their antifreeze is made of wood alcohol.

Wood alcohol is also considered to be the best replacement of gasoline in the future.

Wood alcohol can also be used in the process of making pesticide in the agricultural area. Without wood alcohol, The production of fresh vegetables will decrease sharply.

The main purpose of making wood alcohol is to convert it to formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a colorless and strong-smelling gas. It is used in making wooden product materials, such as particleboard, plywood, and fiberboard.

As an important role in the building industry, it can be made to glues and adhesive for multiple materials. Such as wood, paper, even fabric. However, formaldehyde is not really a good thing, and it’s poisonous.

That’s the reason why we see there are furniture merchants claim that their wooden products like wood floor or wood table are formaldehyde-free.

There are a bunch of other functions of wood alcohol that I have not mentioned above. If you are interested in reading more applications of wood alcohol, please refer to the uses of wood alcohol.

#2. Can I Drink Wood Alcohol?

Wood alcohol is not drinkable, although it is a bit tricky that the name looks like mild alcohol.

You can not drink wood alcohol because it is poisonous.

Actually even seeing and smelling it will put yourself in danger too. Don’t assume it is just a cup of margarita since it is called wood alcohol.

If someone accidentally drinks wood alcohol, there will be serious consequences.

Wood alcohol will be metabolized to become formic acid and the toxin of formic acid will be harmful to the human body.

The acidosis caused by formic acid is severe and will lead to organ failure in the end.

Usually, damage caused by drinking wood alcohol includes:

  • Unconsciousness, headache, dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Vision problems (blurred, tunnel, blindness)
  • Nerve damage
  • Heart and circulation problems
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney failure

So wood alcohol can be fatal alcohol if you do not treat it properly.

Here are some life-saving tips about wood alcohol.

1. Don’t drink unsafe home-brewed alcohol

We know some brewers like to distill alcohol in their backyard, which can be lethal.

The method of making spirits – distillation can produce methanol content, so it is banned in many countries.

So if you are invited to drink a cup of home-brewed beer, make sure there is no risk of wood alcohol poisoning.

2. What should I do if I drink wood alcohol

Seek medical assistance immediately, or you should go to the hospital or call the ambulance ASAP.

Even taking a small dose of wood alcohol is dangerous. Don’t ever think your body can handle it, you still need to have a body examination even if there are no obvious signs.

When people think they are going to have a wood alcohol poisoning, drink a high dose of spirit is a recommended cure.

This method gives you more time to get to the hospital.

I’m not joking because the liver processes the ethanol first, and ethanol inhibits and slows down the reaction of methanol.

Doctors also use some professional therapies like:

  • Fomepizole
  • Dialysis
  • Sodium bicarbonate
  • Folate
  • Thiamine

These are treatments for wood alcohol poisoning in hospital.

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