List of methanol poisoning incidents
Methanol has a high toxicity in humans. If as little as 10 ml of pure methanol is ingested, for example, it can break down into formic acid, which can cause permanent blindness by destruction of the optic nerve, and 30 ml is potentially fatal, although the median lethal dose is typically 100 ml (3.4 fl oz) (i.e. 1–2 ml/kg body weight of pure methanol). This does not happen with ethanol, which breaks down into acetic acid, which is non-toxic on small amounts. Reference dose for methanol is 0.5 mg/kg/day. Toxic effects take hours to start, and effective antidotes can often prevent permanent damage. Because of its similarities in both appearance and odor to ethanol (the alcohol in beverages), it is difficult to differentiate between the two.
In 1999, 35 people died, in ten cities of the state of Bahia as a result of drinking cachaça contaminated with methanol. Further investigation revealed concentrations as high as 24.84% methanol. As other different cases have also been related, in a 20 day window there have been 450 people hospitalized with the toxicity symptoms of methanol ingestion.
The 2012 Czech Republic methanol poisonings occurred in September 2012 in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia. Over the course of several days, 38 people in the Czech Republic and 4 people in Poland died as a result of methanol poisoning and several tens of others were taken to hospital.
In El Salvador, as many as 122 people died in 2000 as a result of drinking low quality liquors sold in unauthorized shops that were found to be adulterated with methanol. The incident prompted the authorities to declare a 10-day emergency prohibition and a massive inspection of alcohol-vending establishments. The root cause was believed to be an act of terrorism, possibly a social cleansing campaign targeted against alcoholics, as the offending distilleries were not found to be responsible for the methanol contents that were present in the affected liquors.
The Pärnu methanol poisoning incident occurred in Pärnu county, Estonia, in September 2001, when 68 people died and 43 were left disabled after contents of stolen methanol canisters were used in production of bootleg liquor.
- 1976: 100 people died in Gujarat.
- 1980: 44 died in Haryana
- 1981: About 308 people in Karnataka, see 1981 Karnataka liquor deaths.
- 1986: 108 died in Gujarat.
- 1987: 200 died in Gujarat.
- 1988: 32 people died in Gujarat.
- 1992: More than 200 people in Odisha, see 1992 Odisha liquor deaths.
- 2001: 27 deaths in Bombay.
- 2004: In December 2004, 87 people died in Mumbai.
- 2006: 22 people killed in Ganjam district, Orissa.
- 2008: 148 people in Karnataka & Tamil Nadu, December. see 2008 Karnataka-Tamil Nadu hooch tragedy
- 2009: 27 people killed in Kolkata, West Bengal
- 2009: 29 people killed in Uttar Pradesh
- 2009: 136 people in Gujarat, July, see 2009 Gujarat alcohol poisonings.
- 2009: >30 deaths, Delhi.
- 2009: >30 deaths, Orissa Bolangir.
- 2010: 35 people killed in Ghaziabad and Bulandshahr districts, Uttar Pradesh
- 2010: 23 people killed in Malappuram district, Kerala
- 2010: 10 deaths, Uttar Pradesh.
- 2011: 17 dead in andhra Pradesh, August.
- 2011: 170 people in Sangrampur, December, see Sangrampur methanol tragedy.
- 2012: 17 deaths, Andhra Pradesh.
- 2012: 31 deaths, Orissa.
- 2012: 18 people died in Gurdaspur district of Punjab in a possible methanol-poisoning incident. The Chemical Analyzer and Histo-pathology department took care of the bodies and will ascertain the exact cause of death.
- 2013: 40 people died in Azamgarh district, Uttar Pradesh.
- 2015: In June 2015, more than 90 people died in Mumbai., see 2015 Mumbai alcohol poisoning incident
- 2017: On 3 January at least 6 people died at Ramgopalpur,West Bengal
- 2019: In February 2019, 100 people in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand died by drinking toxic alcohol.
- 2019: In February 2019, just days after the Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand deaths (above), 156 people (mostly tea plantation workers) died in Assam state. see 2019 Assam alcohol poisonings
In 1986 the methanol-tainted wine scandal was a fraud perpetrated by adulterating table wine with methanol, poisoning hundred of people, with 90 hospitalized, 23 deaths, and many others heavily injured (blindness and neurological damages).
From September until October 2018, 45 people have been reported died of methanol poisoning from drinking fake liquor. In this incident, the methanol content was up to 50 times more than the permissible amount. Cases of toxic alcohol poisoning have been reported in Selangor, the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, Perak and Negeri Sembilan. The deaths comprised various nationalities mostly of foreign workers from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar and Nepal. Around 30 people including three Indian nationals, believed to be responsible for the distribution of cheap counterfeit liquor to retailers around Selayang and Desa Jaya which led to the methanol poisoning incident have been arrested.
Between September 2002 and December 2004, 51 people were admitted to hospital with symptoms of methanol poisoning, of whom 9 died. A further 8 people who died outside hospital were found to have died from methanol poisoning following autopsy. The liquor responsible for all of the cases contained 20% methanol and 80% ethanol and probably came from the same source in southern Europe.
In December 2016, 72 people died in a mass methanol poisoning in Irkutsk, Siberia. The poisoning was precipitated by drinking counterfeit surrogate alcohol—actually scented bath lotion that was marked as not safe for consumption. Named Boyaryshnik ("Hawthorn"), it was described by the Associated Press as being counterfeit.
In 1963, methanol was used in the preparation of bottled mixed alcohol drinks such as coffee liqueur. According official records, 51 died and 9 lost their sight, but according to newspapers there may have been thousands of victims, mainly in Galicia and the Canary Islands.
- 2004 - 21 deaths in Istanbul,
- 2005 - 23 deaths in Istanbul,
- 2011 - 5 Russian tourists died in the Turkish Riviera,
- 2015 - 32 deaths in Istanbul, 3 deaths in Izmir.
In January 2016, consumption of a mixture of Mountain Dew and methanol, referred to as Dewshine, resulted in the reported deaths of two Tennessee high school students. The methanol in this case was believed to come from racing fuel.
In April of 2018 a Massachusetts man died after ingesting alcohol that was contaminated with methanol. The product consumed was Ethanol Extraction labeled 95% ethanol and 5% water. An FDA recall was issued and the company is no longer selling the product which was sold over the internet and shipped by the U.S. Post Office. https://www.consumeraffairs.com/recalls/ethanol-extraction-recalls-95-ethyl-alcohol-product-052418.html
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