Methanol Exposure - What Are Precautions I Need To Take?


Q: I was exposed to methanol about 5 hours ago. I got some on my hands for about a minute, and i also inhaled some. should i be worried?


A:   Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol, is a clear, colourless flammable liquid. Methanol toxicity has been most often linked to ingestion (drinking) of the chemical. People who ingest the chemical must receive medical attention immediately. The most  common way that workers may be exposed to methanol at the work site is by inhaling methanol vapours or by absorption through the skin (either by contact with methanol or its vapours or with methanol-contaminated clothing). A significant amount of methanol can be absorbed through the skin, causing the same health effects as with inhalation, including blindness and optic nerve damage. Drowsiness, coma and death have also been reported, depending on the amount of exposure. If you experience irritation of the eyes (problems with vision) or skin and have difficulty in breathing, nausea or vomiting, I would suggest that you go to the ER immediately.

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