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Moonshine Methanol Poisoning

Moonshine Methanol Poisoning

Moonshine is related to southern culture, heritage, and tradition, but its origin can be traced back to Pennsylvania. Around 1791, when the distilled-spirits tax was implemented, farmers grew frustrated and were determined to do something about the matter. Years after, in the 18th century, moonshine was invented and made throughout Europe and the United States, rapidly growing in popularity. However, among the many dangers of drinking moonshine is moonshine methanol poisoning, which can be life-threatening if the drink is consumed in large amounts.


How Much Methanol Is in Moonshine?

Methanol moonshine poisoning stems from how methanol is produced during fermentation, and depending on the yeast strain, around ten percent of all alcohol can create methanol. Indeed, methanol can be tasted in moonshine. Still, it’s not healthy to consume this substance since the body oxidizes methanol producing a robust and odorless gas (seen in cleaning house products) and formic acid. 

Methanol, also called wood alcohol or spirit, is linked to the direct combination of carbon monoxide gas and hydrogen. Methanol is also a high-octane fuel and was even used as a substitute for gasoline. Therefore, it’s crucial to test the purity of moonshine to avoid methanol poisoning from moonshine. Instead of dropping iodine solution into the alcohol, some makers will test the purity of the substance by pouring some on a spoon and lighting it on fire. A blue flame determines the drink's safety, while a yellow or red flame indicates contamination.


Side Effects From Drinking Moonshine

Moonshine alcohol percentage usually contains alcohol by volume (ABV) of 40% but can range up to 80%. Moonshine does go bad, and you can determine this by taking a small sip which will have a foul taste or taste worse than you expected. Drinking moonshine that is old or contaminated can result in adverse effects.

Here are some moonshine effects:

  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Nerve damage
  • Pale and cold skin
  • Irregular breathing
  • Low body temperature
  • Permanent brain damage

Consumption of 10 ml or more of methanol is lethal, meaning that drinking just 10 milliliters of methanol-containing moonshine is fatal. Overdosing on any type of alcohol, especially methanol moonshine poisoning, can cause alcohol poisoning. Immediate professional medical attention is needed to treat methanol poisoning. Individuals who are displaying symptoms or showing signs of addiction should seek an alcohol addiction program for treatment. Organ failure, brain and nerve damage, and overdose can be avoided if addiction is treated sooner rather than later.


Recovery at Our Chicago Addiction Treatment Center

At Banyan Treatment Centers Chicago, we offer a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) so patients can receive the support and professional care they need to recover while learning how to adapt to a sober lifestyle and routine. Our well-qualified medical staff will ensure patient safety as they treat the aftermath of methanol moonshine poisoning and other side effects of alcohol abuse.

We also offer cognitive behavioral therapy and unique therapeutic methods, including those that involve art and new ways to express yourself during the process. We understand that addiction is different for everyone, but we are here to help so you can return to living a fulfilled and productive life. Our team will design a treatment plan that works for your needs and goals.


Contact a team member at our rehab center in Chicago at 888-280-4763 and ask about our intensive outpatient program and our other services to get started today!


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Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.