Denatured alcohol is ethanol (ethyl alcohol) or grain alcohol that contains additional chemicals called denaturants and are unfit for human consumption.

The denaturation process does not chemically alter or decompose the alcohol, but removes its drinkability from the alcohol. Therefore, denatured alcohol contains normal ethyl alcohol.

So why take a pure product and make it toxic?

Why Is Alcohol Denatured?

Basically, alcohol for human consumption is taxed by many governments. If pure alcohol is used in products such as personal hygiene and household cleaning materials, it will provide the consumer with a much less costly source of ethanol ( ethyl alcohol ) than drinking alcohol . In short, if alcohol wasn’t denatured, people would drink it.

What Does Denatured Alcohol Look Like?

In some countries, denatured alcohol is colored blue or purple using aniline dye to distinguish it from consumable ethanol. Because you can’t tell if alcohol is pure just by looking at it.

What Happens If You Drink Denatured Alcohol?

Briefly; nothing good happens!!

In addition to the effects of alcohol, you will also experience effects from other chemicals in the mix. The exact nature of the effects may vary depending on the denaturing agent.

If the agent used in denatured alcohol is Methanol, possible effects include damage to the nervous system and other organs, increased risk of cancer, and possibly death .

Other denaturing agents carry similar risks. In addition, many products contain perfumes and dyes not intended for human consumption. Some of these toxic compounds can be removed by the distillation of alcohol and the product may be considered safe for human consumption, but denaturing agents have boiling points that are close enough to ethanol. For this reason, it is necessary to be careful and experienced while distilling.

Denatured Alcohol Chemical Composition

There are hundreds of ways to denature ethanol. Denatured alcohol intended for use as a fuel or solvent typically contains 5% or more of methanol. Methanol is flammable and has a boiling point close to ethanol.

Methanol is absorbed through the skin and is highly toxic, so denatured alcohol with a methanol agent should not be used to make perfumes or bath products.

There are types of denatured alcohol that are suitable for health products. Special denatured alcohol contains other chemicals that are not harmful for use in cosmetic or pharmaceutical products.

  • A common toxic denaturant is methanol or methyl alcohol. Methanol is absorbed through the skin and produces symptoms similar to poisoning when ingested. However, it also causes nervous system damage and other serious health effects. It is very difficult to separate from ethanol.

Examples of Products Containing Denatured Alcohol

Denatured alcohol is found in reactive alcohol for use in laboratories, hand sanitizer, technical alcohol for cleaning, and fuel for alcohol lamps. It is also found in cosmetics and other personal care products.

Denatured Alcohol for Cosmetics and Labs

Denatured alcohol for use in cosmetics usually contains water and a bittering agent (denatonium benzoate or denatonium saccharide), but other chemicals are sometimes used. Other common additives include (but are not limited to) isopropanol, methyl ethyl ketone, methyl isobutyl ketone, pyridine, benzene, diethyl phthalate, and naphtha.

In a nutshell, Denatured Alcohol

  • Denatured alcohol is ethanol or grain alcohol that contains additional chemicals called denaturants and is unfit for human consumption.
  • Denatured alcohol is fine for some lab work, but it’s not safe to drink!
  • Some countries color denatured alcohol as a warning.
  • Denaturants can either be chemicals that make alcohol taste bad, or they can be toxic.
  • A common toxic denaturant is methanol or methyl alcohol. Methanol is absorbed through the skin and produces symptoms similar to poisoning when ingested. However, it also causes nervous system damage and other serious health effects. It is very difficult to separate from ethanol.
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