how come methanol is more dangerous than ethanol?
Note that BOTH can be dangerous. remember that any chemical is dangerous. even water! the body has its limits!
The ethanol (EtOH for short) we are familiar with is in well…alcoholic beverages! but of course this can lead to alcohol poisoning (which is becoming more common nowadays its quite alarming)
METHANOL (MeOH for short)however is a different story. MeOH is also known as “wood alcohol” and it has a similar scent to EtOH. MeOH is quite toxic for a couple of reasons
- it becomes metabolized by the body and it becomes formic acid (apparently ants produce this as well) or formate salts which are harmful to the nervous system.
- it can then lead to blindness, coma, and even death.
Semi fun fact: in some cases, it only takes about 10mL or so of methanol to blind a person’s eye. That’s how dangerous it is. The fact that it has a similar scent to ethanol makes it even more deceptive.
If you work with methanol in the lab, take extra precaution.
And no this will not be a scientifically charged post.
It is about my experience doing medical research so far…so I guess it is semi-scientifically charged.
I remember talking to my director about working with diabetic patients. He told me about caring for them but not getting too attached to them because it might affect my line of work. As in if one of my patient’s die, I might get too sad to even work. I do not deal with loss well.
I usually work with vials and such in lab but its different working with actual people as our controlled variables. I have to be mindful of their diets, sugar levels, lipid levels, and such. Working with a living subject is…to sum it up…weird.
Its not a test tube where if I mess up, I can just clean my station and start another experiment. When human life is in question, the strategy becomes slightly different.
I became “friends” with a hospital patient. I won’t reveal his name but for now, we’ll refer to him as “K”
K is fairly young and is pretty close to my age. He could not continue his studies because his diabetes became worse and worse and it lead to other not-so-nice outcomes. His case is one of the worst and despite his condition, he remained positive for the most part. I did not like seeing him get injections and such because I just can’t stand seeing needles and seeing someone get pricked with needles.
One time, he asked me to stay for a bit because he had questions for me. He asked me about …”life” type of questions like my passion for my field, my love life, etc.
He told me that he wanted to become an aeronautic engineer. His love for physics is immense and he told me he even liked advanced calculus a lot. It made me smile that he loved mathematics so much. It became our mini language in a way.
He told me about how his girlfriend left him because of his condition and I did not know how to comfort him and he told me that I didn’t have to; the act of me listening to his problems is enough of a help to him.
I’ve only known him for about 3 weeks and it seems like him and I became slightly closer..almost like best friends.
I would tell him about specifics in terms of lipid metabolism and it became story time almost whenever I told him. He thinks our pancreatic lipase is magical (and it is)
He is such a brilliant kid
I heard some grave news from my director. He passed away a couple of hours ago. His last message was “Keep Gibbs free energy negative”
Rest in peace buddy.
Keep it spontaneous in heaven :)