Which patient groups are at highest risk of unintentional methanol toxicity?

Updated: Nov 05, 2018
  • Author: Kalyani Korabathina, MD; Chief Editor: Tarakad S Ramachandran, MBBS, MBA, MPH, FAAN, FACP, FAHA, FRCP, FRCPC, FRS, LRCP, MRCP, MRCS  more...
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Answer

Suicide attempts using methanol are uncommon. [13] However, unintentional methanol poisoning occurs under a variety of circumstances in several discrete populations, including the following:

  • Children - Accidental overdose can be seen in children; methanol is found commonly in antifreeze, perfumes, paint solvents, photocopying fluid, and windshield washing fluid, all of which are readily available

  • Persons with alcoholism - These individuals commonly consume methanol as a substitute for ethanol

  • Populations of developing countries - In many parts of the developing world, methanol is often a component of "bootlegged alcohol," which is made in rural regions; because of its low cost, it is often consumed by members of lower socioeconomic classes

  • Industrial workers - In the industrial setting, the inhalation of methanol fumes poses a health risk; methanol is used in the production of formaldehyde and in shellac processing; in addition, it is used as an extractant in chemical processes and as a denaturant in ethanol [14]


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