In light of the recent news and developments involving lambanog, a traditional distilled palm liquor made from the coconut palm sap, we are going to shed light on a few things.
According to the latest news, the death toll has risen to 19, when just yesterday, it has been reported that the death toll climbed to 14 with 494 hospitalized.
The owner of the lambanog brand, “Rey Lambanog,” was allegedly delivered methanol instead of ethanol. This substance was then mixed in with the drink. The methanol was used as an extender to ethanol, which is the legal alcohol that are in many alcoholic beverages. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prohibits the use of methanol.
Hundreds of hospitalized victims were reported to have drank the lambanog brand. They were also tested and have shown to have high amounts of methanol. They reportedly experienced abdominal pain, nausea, drowsiness, vomiting, weakness, hyperventilation, convulsions, and vision difficulties.
But what is methanol and what makes it dangerous?
What is Methanol?
Unlike ethanol which is found in alcoholic beverages, methanol is a non-drinking type of alcohol. It’s called wood alcohol or methyl alcohol.
Methanol is usually used to create fuel, solvents, formaldehyde, and antifreeze. It is colorless, fairly volatile, flammable, and most importantly, poisonous. It is not fit for human consumption.
It is produced synthetically, though there are naturally-occurring methanol in nature. It is used as an industrial solvent for creating adhesives, inks, and dyes. It is also used in bio-diesel as well as a component in gasoline.
How is Methanol Different from Ethanol?
Methanol is poisonous, although it can be used in small amounts for ethanol or denatured alcohol. This keeps people from drinking ethanol products such as mouth wash and fuel, among other things.
Meanwhile, ethanol is usually prepared by factory fermentation of food crops, that’s why it is commonly found in alcoholic beverages.
Symptoms of methanol poisoning include:
- breathing difficulties
- blurred vision
- complete or partial blindness
- dilation of the pupils
- low blood pressure
- agitated behavior
- difficulty walking
- bluish color on the lips and nails
- abdominal pain
- bloody vomiting
- leg cramps
- no breathing
In cases of methanol poisoning, the person emergency care and poison control must be provided immediately.
You may call the National Poison Management and Control Center: (02) 8524 1078 or (02) 8554 8400 local 2311