LABORATORY CHEMICAL SAFETY SUMMARY: METHANOL

Substance

Methanol

(Methyl alcohol, wood alcohol)

CAS 67-56-1

 

Formula

CH3OH

 

Physical Properties

Colorless liquid

bp 65 °C, mp -98 °C

Miscible with water in all proportions

 

Odor

Faint alcohol odor detectable at 4 to 6000 ppm (mean = 160 ppm)

Vapor Density

1.1 (air = 1.0)

 

Vapor Pressure

96 mmHg at 20 °C

 

Flash Point

11 °C

 

Autoignition Temperature

385 °C

 

Toxicity Data

LD50 oral (rat)

5628 mg/kg

 

LD50 skin (rabbit)

15,840 mg/kg

 

LC50 inhal (rat)

>145,000 ppm (1 h)

 

PEL (OSHA)

200 ppm (260 mg/m3)

 

TLV-TWA (ACGIH)

200 ppm (260 mg/m3)—skin

 

STEL (ACGIH)

250 ppm (328 mg/m3)

Major Hazards

Highly flammable liquid; low acute toxicity.

Toxicity

The acute toxicity of methanol by ingestion, inhalation, and skin contact is low. Ingestion of methanol or inhalation of high concentrations can produce headache, drowsiness, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, blindness, and death. In humans, 60 to 250 mL is reported to be a lethal dose. Prolonged or repeated skin contact can cause irritation and inflammation; methanol can be absorbed through the skin in toxic amounts. Contact of methanol with the eyes can cause irritation and burns. Methanol is not considered to have adequate warning properties.

Methanol has not been found to be carcinogenic in humans. Information available is insufficient to characterize the reproductive hazard presented by methanol. In animal tests, the compound produced developmental effects only at levels that were maternally toxic; hence, it is not considered to be a highly significant hazard to the fetus. Tests in bacterial or mammalian cell cultures demonstrate no mutagenic activity.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement