UPs Methanol identification tests avoiding deaths in Phnom Penh pharmaceutical market

Methanol, also known as wood alcohol, is a commonly used organic solvent that, because of its toxicity, can cause metabolic acidosis, mental problems, and even death when ingested. Methanol toxicity remains a common problem in many parts of the developing world, especially among members of lower socioeconomic society.

Although methanol is very useful as a general and laboratory solvent, and in antifreeze (often with ethylene glycol), windscreen washer additives and duplicating fluids, it can often me misused as methanol provides the same buzz as ethanol, but is far more toxic than ethanol, to the point that it can cause severe illness and death.. In adults, death may follow the ingestion of just 20-50 ml of methanol.

Currently, the demand and price of ethanol is greatly increased in Cambodia as ethanol is in great demand as a disinfectant and raw material for producing hand sanitizers. However illegal producers sometimes use methanol as a cheap substitute for ethanol which unfortunately results in deaths. Responding to this issue, UPs pharmacy lecturers and students has developed methanol identification methods following the procedure in WHO basic toxicity analysis. These two tests together are able to identify methanol with the sensitivity of 50 milligrams per litre.