Methanol material data safety sheet. Reproduced with kind permission of the Department of Chemistry, Oxford University.
Last updated January 8, 2004
- Methyl alcohol
- Wood alcohol
- Form: colourless liquid with a characteristic smell.
- Stability: Stable, but very flammable.
- Explosion limits 6% - 36%.
- Water solubility: miscible in all proportions.
- Methanol is toxic. If ingested or inhaledit can cause a wide range of harmful effects, from sickness, heart and liver damage to reproductive harm, blindess or death.
- Methanol is often a component in "bootleg" liquor (illegally brewed and distilled alcohol) and there have been numerous cases in the past in which the consumption of such a drink has been fatal.
- Methanol is very flammable. The pure liquid catches fire easily and aqueous solutions containing a significant amount of methanol can also catch fire.
- The flame above burning methanol is virtually invisible, so it is not always easy to tell whether a methanol flame is still alight.
- The explosion limits for methanol (the lower and upper percentage limits of methanol in an air-methanol mixture giving a vapour that can explode) are unusually wide.
- Always wear safety glasses.
- Remove any source of ignition from the working area. Don't forget that a hot air gun, a hot plate or even a radiator may be sufficiently hot to ignite the vapour.
- You should not breathe in the vapour, so use a fume cupboard if available. If this is not possible, ensure that the area in which you work is very well ventilated.
- Eye contact: Immediately flush the eye with plenty of water. Continue for several minutes and call for medical help.
- Skin contact: A person whose clothes are soaked in methanol will be at serious risk from fire, so immediately remove any contaminated clothing and store well away from a source of ignition (preferably outside). Wash exposed skin with soap and water. If the skin reddens or appears damaged, or if methanol may have been swallowed, call for medical aid.
- If swallowed: Call for immediate medical help; if the quantity swallowed is significant urgent medical action is vital.
- Trace amounts of methanol can be flushed down a sink with a large quantity of water, unless local rules prohibit this.
- Larger amounts should be collected in a non-chlorinated waste solvent container for disposal.
- Safety glasses.
- If you need gloves, butyl rubber is a suitable material.
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Bio-rich-time-poor 00:40, 24 June 2011 (BST)