Old and new formula methylated spirits

Old and new formula methylated spirits

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Credit: MARTYN F. CHILLMAID/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Old formula (left) methylated spirits contains ethanol, colour and bitter taste plus the poison, methanol, to deter people from drinking it. Methanol (which gave methylated spirit its name) may cause blindness and can kill those who drink it. In the new formula (right), used in the UK and most of Europe since 2013, the completely denatured alcohol, ethanol, is mixed with additives to make it undrinkable; isopropyl alcohol - a chemical analytical marker, methyl ethyl ketone - an unpleasant smell, denatonium benzoate a bitter tasting agent and an aniline purple dye. It is sold for non-drinking uses as a household cleaning agent, a solvent, and a fuel. The current UN Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) label indicates that this chemical is a flammable liquid (GHS02). The harmful warning has been removed.

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Keywords: additives, analytical marker, aniline dye, bitter taste, blindness, chemical, color, colour, denatonium benzoate, denatured alcohol, ethanol, ghs, ghs02, harmonised, isopropyl alcohol, labeling, un globally harmonized system of classification and labelling of chemicals

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