Agent Name

Methyl alcohol

Alternative Name

Methanol

CAS Number

67-56-1

Formula

C-H4-O

Major Category

Solvents

Synonyms

Carbinol; Columbian spirits; Pyroligneous spirit; Wood alcohol; Wood naphtha; Wood spirit; Methanol; [NIOSH] UN1230

Category

Alcohols (<C12)

Description

Colorless liquid with a characteristic pungent odor; [NIOSH]

Sources/Uses

Used as a solvent, alcohol denaturant, antifreeze, and chemical intermediate; [ACGIH] Naturally present in blood and urine and in fruits and vegetables; [CHEMINFO] Used in paint removers, windshield-washing solutions, and duplication fluids; [Olson, p. 278]

Comments

Methanol poisoning can cause blindness and death. The lethal oral dose in humans is 2 to 8 ounces. Most cases have occurred after ingestion. Methanol poisoning after inhalation or skin absorption in the workplace has been reported. [ACGIH] Symptoms of methanol poisoning include initial CNS depression and vomiting followed by metabolic acidosis and severe vision impairment 8-24 hours later. Coma, respiratory failure, and death may ensue. [CHEMINFO] In high-dose reproductive studies in animals, methyl alcohol causes testicular damage and birth defects. [Frazier, p. 179-80] Patients may present with inebriation and gastritis. There is a characteristic latency of 6-30 hours after exposure. Combined osmolar and anion gaps suggest poisoning by methanol or ethylene glycol, but also may occur in severe alcoholic ketoacidosis or diabetic ketoacidosis. [Olson, p. 33, 278]

Exposure Assessment
BEI

Methanol in urine = 15 mg/L; sample at end of shift;

Skin Designation (ACGIH)

Yes

TLV (ACGIH)

200 ppm

STEL (ACGIH)

250 ppm

PEL (OSHA)

200 ppm

MAK

200 ppm

IDLH (NIOSH)

6000 ppm

Excerpts from Documentation for IDLHs

Two human studies showed no effects at vapor concentrations ranging from 160 to 1,000 ppm [McAllister 1954; MDOH 1937]. It has been stated that it probably would be dangerous to be exposed to concentrations of the order of 30,000 to 50,000 ppm for as much as 30 to 60 minutes [Patty 1963].

Vapor Pressure

96 mm Hg

Odor Threshold Low

4.2 ppm

Odor Threshold High

5960 ppm

Lethal Concentration

LC50 (rat) = 64,000 ppm/4 hr

Explanatory Notes

Detection odor threshold from AIHA (mean = 160 ppm); Flash point = 54 deg F; [CAMEO]

Flammability (NFPA)

3: May ignite at ambient temperature

Adverse Effects
Reproductive Toxin

Yes

Neurotoxin

Other CNS Neurotoxin

Links to Other NLM Databases
Health Studies

Human Health Effects from Hazardous Substances Data Bank:

Toxicity Information

Chemical Information

Search ChemIDplus

Biomedical References

Search PubMed

Related Information in HazMap
Processes

Industrial Processes with risk of exposure:

Activities

Activities with risk of exposure: