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  1. #1
    Registered User alaska21's Avatar
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    Reagent Alcohol and methanol: Danger?

    This might be an idiotic question. I use Denatured reagent alcohol on a daily basis in the lab to kill germs etc. I always wear gloves...and I spray reagent alcohol on my gloves frequently when working with sterile cell culture since I use no antibiotics. I recently learned that denatured alcohol is 5% METHANOL! I'm kind of scared because I have gotten reagent alcohol on my skin before...never in the eyes though. But some guys in the lab wash their bare hands in reagent alcohol so maybe I am paranoid over a little methanol?

    Just scared since I know methanol attacks the CNS. Should I just be very careful and make sure to never get it on me?
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    It's fine, your worrying over nothing
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  3. #3
    Actual Pharmacist Bane's Avatar
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    You'll be fine unless you drink it
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  4. #4
    Registered User alaska21's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by notamuppet View Post
    It's fine, your worrying over nothing
    Originally Posted by Bane View Post
    You'll be fine unless you drink it
    Ok thanks guys

    I'll stick to just worrying about the Phenol I use

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    Originally Posted by Bane View Post
    You'll be fine unless you drink it
    If it wasn't Bane saying this, I would definitely say don't do it. I'm still inclined to disagree, esp. if you are using it on a regular basis (i.e. you work in the lab and it's not just lab for a class). We use 70% EtOH (made from 95%) for all our tissue culture needs. Reagent alcohol is relegated strictly to other uses (peptides in our case). Anyway...he's dead on about the drinking part...
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    Registered User alaska21's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tilebreaker View Post
    If it wasn't Bane saying this, I would definitely say don't do it. I'm still inclined to disagree, esp. if you are using it on a regular basis (i.e. you work in the lab and it's not just lab for a class). We use 70% EtOH (made from 95%) for all our tissue culture needs. Reagent alcohol is relegated strictly to other uses (peptides in our case). Anyway...he's dead on about the drinking part...
    Well by law we have to use reagent alcohol so....
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  7. #7
    Registered User alaska21's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tilebreaker View Post
    If it wasn't Bane saying this, I would definitely say don't do it. I'm still inclined to disagree, esp. if you are using it on a regular basis (i.e. you work in the lab and it's not just lab for a class). We use 70% EtOH (made from 95%) for all our tissue culture needs. Reagent alcohol is relegated strictly to other uses (peptides in our case). Anyway...he's dead on about the drinking part...
    How do you use 70% ethanol that is not denatured? They have stupid rules that we have to use denatured alcohol because of idiots who drink it to get drunk apparently. Makes me mad they take something safe and add METHANOL to it just so people will die if they drink it lol
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  8. #8
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    Originally Posted by alaska21 View Post
    How do you use 70% ethanol that is not denatured? They have stupid rules that we have to use denatured alcohol because of idiots who drink it to get drunk apparently. Makes me mad they take something safe and add METHANOL to it just so people will die if they drink it lol
    Tax money from alcohol taxation
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  9. #9
    Registered User alaska21's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Bane View Post
    Tax money from alcohol taxation
    That's how goverments work:Take 10 abusable compounds, ban half of them and tax as hell the rest
    haha good point! But its still safe right despite what that other guy was saying?
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    Registered User Bioteknik's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by alaska21 View Post
    How do you use 70% ethanol that is not denatured? They have stupid rules that we have to use denatured alcohol because of idiots who drink it to get drunk apparently. Makes me mad they take something safe and add METHANOL to it just so people will die if they drink it lol
    easy, buy 200 proof ethanol and dilute it.
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    Registered User tilebreaker's Avatar
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    No institution I've been at has rules against either 190 or 200 proof alcohol for lab use. We can get both pretty easily. Guess yours is more controlled.

    Originally Posted by Bioteknik View Post
    easy, buy 200 proof ethanol and dilute it.
    As said above, we use either 95 or like Biotek said, 200 proof.

    Besides, 70% is more effective at killing bacteria than 100% (supposedly).
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    A small amount of skin exposure won't do any harm, but frequent washing of hands with any concentrated alcohol solution will eventually cause drying and defatting of the skin that can be a real problem. The various alcohol emollient foams used by health care workers that are really a poor substitute for proper hand washing with soap and water are carefully blended to prevent these kinds of problems.

    Speaking as a chemical health and safety professional in the Biotech industry with over 20 years' experience, that is. Don't sweat a little minor exposure, but don't make a habit of washing your hands directly with concentrated reagent alcohol.
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    Originally Posted by DaddyR View Post
    A small amount of skin exposure won't do any harm, but frequent washing of hands with any concentrated alcohol solution will eventually cause drying and defatting of the skin that can be a real problem. The various alcohol emollient foams used by health care workers that are really a poor substitute for proper hand washing with soap and water are carefully blended to prevent these kinds of problems.

    Speaking as a chemical health and safety professional in the Biotech industry with over 20 years' experience, that is. Don't sweat a little minor exposure, but don't make a habit of washing your hands directly with concentrated reagent alcohol.
    Yeah, I have always worn gloves and try to minimize exposure just in case. I'm in lab now I'm gonna look for some 70%etoh instead
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    Registered User alaska21's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tilebreaker View Post
    No institution I've been at has rules against either 190 or 200 proof alcohol for lab use. We can get both pretty easily. Guess yours is more controlled.



    As said above, we use either 95 or like Biotek said, 200 proof.

    Besides, 70% is more effective at killing bacteria than 100% (supposedly).
    It was weird they told us we had to have a liquor license (serious)
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    Registered User alaska21's Avatar
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    Directly from the label....

    Ricca Chemical Company

    Reagent Alcohol 70% (v/v) Aqueous Solution


    It also says.,..

    DOT NAME: Alcohols, n.o.s. (Contains: Ethanol and Methanol), 3, UN1987, PG II


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    FYI I had always thought it was a Federal (U.S.) program, but we haven't had to have a tax-free ethanol permit for several years now. Used to have one, but not any more.

    Could be a State Law in your case, and almost surely is. Different States can in fact have very different requirements when it comes to Ethanol. I do know that at least in Maryland we don't have those issues any more. I would be more aware, but in our case QA is responsible for our DEA and BATF regulatory issues, so I only know about it second-hand.
    Last edited by DaddyR; 08-13-2008 at 01:58 PM.
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    yeah.. company I work for is in MD, might explain the ease in ordering.
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    Originally Posted by alaska21 View Post
    This might be an idiotic question. I use Denatured reagent alcohol on a daily basis in the lab to kill germs etc. I always wear gloves...and I spray reagent alcohol on my gloves frequently when working with sterile cell culture since I use no antibiotics. I recently learned that denatured alcohol is 5% METHANOL! I'm kind of scared because I have gotten reagent alcohol on my skin before...never in the eyes though. But some guys in the lab wash their bare hands in reagent alcohol so maybe I am paranoid over a little methanol?

    Just scared since I know methanol attacks the CNS. Should I just be very careful and make sure to never get it on me?
    ****, I never wear gloves except when handling deuterated solvents and alkyl iodides (they alkylate your DNA )

    Originally Posted by Bioteknik View Post
    easy, buy 200 proof ethanol and dilute it.
    Originally Posted by tilebreaker View Post
    No institution I've been at has rules against either 190 or 200 proof alcohol for lab use. We can get both pretty easily. Guess yours is more controlled.



    As said above, we use either 95 or like Biotek said, 200 proof.

    Besides, 70% is more effective at killing bacteria than 100% (supposedly).
    It's impossible to have 100% pure EtOH; the chemical companies azeotrope out the water with benzene so you will have some residual benzene in the absolute EtOH which is a HELL of a lot worse for you than inhaling and/or transdermally absorbing MeOH (which I get the latter ALL the time).
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    Originally Posted by Beejis60 View Post
    ****, I never wear gloves except when handling deuterated solvents and alkyl iodides (they alkylate your DNA )

    .
    ! My fellow lab worker handles ethidium bromide every day with his bare hands lol! Also like handles phenol without gloves or eye ware, and I've seen him splash himself a lot. I'm like wtf dude!
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    Originally Posted by alaska21 View Post
    ! My fellow lab worker handles ethidium bromide every day with his bare hands lol! Also like handles phenol without gloves or eye ware, and I've seen him splash himself a lot. I'm like wtf dude!
    Ethidium bromide isn't too bad, but phenol is classified on the same level as VX gas for health hazard(s) What a tard.....
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    Originally Posted by Beejis60 View Post
    Ethidium bromide isn't too bad, but phenol is classified on the same level as VX gas for health hazard(s) What a tard.....
    Yeah EtBr is very diluted for lab purposes. The stuff we use is Trizol which I believe is like 50% phenol lol. Kid laughed at me cause I put on safety glasses/gloves when using it...I'm like "umm ok?"
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    Originally Posted by alaska21 View Post
    How do you use 70% ethanol that is not denatured? They have stupid rules that we have to use denatured alcohol because of idiots who drink it to get drunk apparently. Makes me mad they take something safe and add METHANOL to it just so people will die if they drink it lol
    We have 99% ethanol -- it's for high-precision (GCMS/FTIR) analytical work. Then again, we're an organic chemistry lab, not bio...
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    and Beejis is right, it's actually 199 proof, but the bottle still says 200proof, 99.5% EtOH
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    Originally Posted by Catchol View Post
    We have 99% ethanol -- it's for high-precision (GCMS/FTIR) analytical work. Then again, we're an organic chemistry lab, not bio...
    Originally Posted by Bioteknik View Post
    and Beejis is right, it's actually 199 proof, but the bottle still says 200proof, 99.5% EtOH
    That stuff is still "made" by azeotroping with benzene to remove the water.
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    I actually had a similar question a while ago, i worked as a custom cabinetmaker/woodworker on yachts in florida and doing finish work was constantly using denatured alc, lacquer thinner, mineral spirits, xylene, etc. I was pretty careful to keep it off my skin but some of it, esp lacquer thinner burns like hell when you mess up and spill .. like i said i was careful but just out of curiosity how bad are these types of thinners for you transdermally?
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    Originally Posted by scottymac710 View Post
    I actually had a similar question a while ago, i worked as a custom cabinetmaker/woodworker on yachts in florida and doing finish work was constantly using denatured alc, lacquer thinner, mineral spirits, xylene, etc. I was pretty careful to keep it off my skin but some of it, esp lacquer thinner burns like hell when you mess up and spill .. like i said i was careful but just out of curiosity how bad are these types of thinners for you transdermally?
    In all actuality, they are not that bad despite the warnings. However, when you said it burned like hell when you spilled it, did you happen to spill it on your clothes or just on bare skin or on latex-type of gloves?
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    Originally Posted by Beejis60 View Post
    That stuff is still "made" by azeotroping with benzene to remove the water.
    You're clearly *NOT* a chemist. Have you never heard of a molecular sieve?

    Go sell some supplements...
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    Originally Posted by Catchol View Post
    You're clearly *NOT* a chemist. Have you never heard of a molecular sieve?

    Go sell some supplements...
    !!

    *Grabs popcorn and anxiously waits for his response*
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    Originally Posted by Catchol View Post
    You're clearly *NOT* a chemist. Have you never heard of a molecular sieve?

    Go sell some supplements...
    I think Beej is an organic chemistry grad student, Catchol. Take it easy on him.
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    Originally Posted by neuron View Post
    I think Beej is an organic chemistry grad student, Catchol. Take it easy on him.
    Let me clarify then...

    In our lab (pharmaceutical research in an academic setting), we produce our own analytical-grade ethanol by passing CaO-dried (>95%) EtOH through a column of 3A zeolite molecular sieves. We have found this to be the most cost-effective way to obtain uncontaminated absolute ethanol for our frequent (daily) analytical (GCMS/FTIR) work and animal experiments.

    The assertion that only one process exists for the production of absolute ethanol, or that absolute ethanol is ubiquitously contaminated with benzene, is exceptionally sophomoric.
    Last edited by Catchol; 08-15-2008 at 11:57 AM.
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