It’s National Tequila Day in the US today! Check out this graphic from Reactions to learn about the chemistry of tequila - and how scientists have found a way to turn tequila into diamonds.
Would you like to know why Methanol is so bad for you? Why it gives you those “wicked hangovers”? It’s not the methanol itself but what your body turns it into. There is an enzyme in your body called alcohol dehydrogenase. It does as the name implies, dehydrates alcohols— including ethanol (“alcohol”) and methanol. So when it dehydrates methanol it turns it into formaldehyde. If you don’t know a lot of biology or toxicology, formaldehyde is a very toxic and a known human carcinogen. A third of an ounce (10 mL) will kill an adult. So really be careful how much you drink.
Most luckily though, alcohol dehydrogenase prefers ethanol to methanol by far. (Prefers ethanol to methanol by ~10-20 fold). It would much rather uptake ethanol and not bother converting the methanol (so it leaves as relatively harmless waste). This is why the antidote for methanol poisoning is actually just ethanol. (x,x)
I have observed students, over 21, splash methanol on themselves in lab and simply walked to the bar, purchased a few shots and a sandwich and gotten on with their day. (Methanol does go through skin and of course drinking it would be much more serious but a drink is a medically valid precautionary method of treatment in case of spill.)
Drink too much tequila? Drink other alcoholic beverages! Lol.
One of my chemistry lecturers at uni jovially stated in a lecture, “It’s fine if you drink methanol, as long as you drink plenty more ethanol!”
I’m guessing he realised later that the message was probably a little too casual, as he hurriedly sent an email around, the sole text of which was: “Please don’t drink methanol.”
If methanol doesn’t kill you, don’t worry, you’ll just be blind instead.