Methanol is the simplest of alcohols, also known as methyl alcohol or wooden spirit, its chemical formula is CH3OH (or, abbreviated, MEOH or Metoh), its CAS number is 67-56-1.
Danger indications: Easily flammable liquid and vapours
Toxic by ingestion
Toxic in contact with the skin
Toxic if inhaled
Prevention: Keep away from sources of heat/sparks/open flames/heated surfaces. Don’t smoke. Take precautions against electrostatic discharges. Use electrical, ventilation and explosion-proof lighting systems. Keep the receptacle tightly closed. Wear protective gloves and protect your eyes and face.
Reaction: Transport the injured person to the open air and keep him at rest in a position that favours breathing. In case of contact with the skin remove all contaminated clothing, rinse thoroughly with water; Contact the Poison Control center and a doctor.
Storage: Store the ventilated and cool place.
Disposal: Dispose of the product and container according to local, regional, national and international regulations.
Methanol uses or methyl alcohol
Find wide use as:
Solvent (e.g. for the dilution of paints and in the polishing of furniture);
Reagent in industrial chemical processes;
Fuel (e.g. used in NASCAR, Indy Racing League and dynamic modelling mixed with castor oil or synthetic base plus a small percentage of nitromethane).
As a main component (60%) of the Methacarn (an alcoholic fixative liquid).
Used illegally, because highly toxic, to sophisticate the wine.
In Iceland it is also used as a means of storage for geothermal electricity, summarizing it starting from hydrogen obtained by hydrolysis and carbon dioxide.
Precautions on the use of methanol or methyl alcohol
Methanol is toxic and induces central nervous system depression while its metabolites (formaldehyde and formic acid) are responsible for damage to the optic nerve and retina. The lethal dose for a human being varies from 0.3 to 1 g per kg body weight.