Why it is dangerous to drink methylated spirit

Methylated spirits also called denatured alcohol, is alcohol (60-90% ethanol, propanol, or isopropanol) that has additives to make it poisonous, bad tasting, foul smelling or nauseating and render it unsuitable for recreational drinking. In some cases it is also purple-dyed with methyl violet.
The main additive has traditionally been 10% methanol, giving rise to the term “methylated spirits”. Methanol, is responsible for most of the deadly toxic effects of methylated spirits (metabolic acidosis, brain injury, blindness, cardiovascular instability, and death).
Pyridine is a toxic additive whose intoxication causes dizziness, headache, lack of coordination, nausea, salivation, and loss of appetite.
Other typical additives include, acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, methyl isobutyl ketone, and syrup ipecac (emetic), methyl salicylate and denatonium (bitterants). These compounds are potentially acutely toxic too.
Castor oil included in some surgical spirits formulations as a mild anti-fungal and skin lubricant may cause severe purgation on ingestion.
Denatured alcohol is not subject to the heavy taxation that is applied to alcoholic beverages. The low cost of industrial spirits makes it appealing to unscrupulous business for manufacture of illicit alcohol such as 2nd generation gin, rum and vodka. In some cases counterfeit products are made from recycled bottles of alcohol filled with cheaply made vodka or gin concoctions. Alcohol users are better advised to avoid purchasing very cheap products or purchasing alcohol from non-authorized avenues.
The deterrents however do not stop some people from trying these chemicals as a way of getting high or euphoric. Due to increasing poverty issues and ignorance some young men and old men have taken methylated spirits as a cheap substitute for alcoholic beverage with a disastrous consequences to health. The writer has handled two cases within 3 yrs, one of whom- a geriatric- resulted in blindness.
Finally, surgical spirits (rubbing alcohol) consisting of roughly 70% pure ethanol or isopropanol is applied topically as an antiseptic whereas methylated spirit is used as a solvent, a fuel additive, and for sanding or finishing purposes and should never be applied as an antiseptic or consumed. This is important because toxications have been reported via transdermal route; often after prolonged skin exposure with alcohol-soaked material.
The use of methylated spirits in “Kinyozi” should therefore raise a red flag, particularly in vulnerable subpopulations such as children, elderly and pregnant women!

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