Methanol spill

Dano

Forager
Nov 24, 2005
181
0
48
UK
Looking at your primus warning I always light mine 30 to 50 feet from anything, use long matches at arms length and never lean over them, goes for Coleman lanterns too, if they flare turn them off if you can and walk away let them blow out don't return until they are cool and check for leaks, never fill them and light them in the same place, always secure the spare fuel well away before trying to light the stove,lantern.

I have seen burns from and old pressure lantern, the type with the "beetle" in meths and I also know a guy who almost burnt his house down filling a zippo
 

FCDisaster

Member
Apr 11, 2012
44
0
Chepstow, Monmouthshire
Methanol has a flashpoint of 11 degrees C, petrol is -21 degrees C.

Like most flammable liquids its normally the vapour just above the liquid which is the really flammable bit (has the right mixture of oxygen and fuel).
 

bilmo-p5

Maker Plus
Jul 5, 2010
8,168
3
west yorkshire
I'm in no way trying to trivialise the dangers, one way or another, of methanol, but if you exercise the same care and common sense that you would with any other poisonous and/or flammable liquid you won't have any problems.
 

cbr6fs

Native
Mar 30, 2011
1,620
0
Athens, Greece
Methanol has a flashpoint of 11 degrees C, petrol is -21 degrees C.

Like most flammable liquids its normally the vapour just above the liquid which is the really flammable bit (has the right mixture of oxygen and fuel).
Just to clarify.
The flashpoint is the lowest temperature the fuel can vaporise, it's NOT going to self ignite at 11c.

I have barrels of Methanol that sit in my garage through 45c+ Greek summers without any problems.
Even IF you are storing them in a non sealed container (really really not advised) you still need to have a pretty small window of a air fuel ratio for it to ignite even with a naked flame.
In a well ventilated garage your unlikely to have enough vaporised Methanol in the air to cause a explosion.

As for the dangers of Methanol on the skin.
My advice is to wash it off straight away, better still wear gloves when handling the stuff.

With regards to people tasting it, they must be very very stupid or have a death wish.
 

salan

Nomad
Jun 3, 2007
320
0
Cheshire
I am not sure why Methanol gets separated out so much.
Treat ALL fuels with respect and you are fine
you wouldn't drink petrol so why would you drink methanol?
Having worked in the analytical industry, There are far more dangerous solvents around yet used safely. i.e. treated with respect.
I suspect there are more deaths/injuries with butane/propane per year then methanol.
Alan
 

Laurentius

Native
Aug 13, 2009
1,830
142
Knowhere
Yep, I think methonal flashes a lot lower though and the flame is not visible, I read somewhere once petrol is 10 times more explosive then gun powder

i would imagine all but the younger members on the forum would be aware of the dangers but worth reminding now and again, seen far too many near misses with people trying to start fires with petrol, very un bushcraft and will have varying effects from flare up to explosion
Once in an attempt to win the Darwin award, I refilled a lighter whilst sitting in the car, spilt fluid on my hands, and then without thinking tested the lighter, well you can imagine the result, my hands went up in flames. My first thought was, don't touch anything. Fortunately I did not injure myself or damage anything as it did not burn for long enough.

Is methanol really that toxic, is it worse than white spirit which I have used to clean paint off my hands before now?
 

FCDisaster

Member
Apr 11, 2012
44
0
Chepstow, Monmouthshire
It is far more toxic than white spirit. The white spirit will defat/degrease your skin which is why it can sometimes feel like your skin is really dry if you dont rinse it off. Methanol on the otherhand goes through the skin and is toxic.

Limited exposure (small spill on the hand which is washed off immediately) shouldnt cause anyone too much bother but as has been said below, treat all flammable liquids with respect, don't drink it (or taste,sniff etc) and if possible wear gloves when handling.
 

Teepee

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 15, 2010
4,116
3
Northamptonshire
It is far more toxic than white spirit. The white spirit will defat/degrease your skin which is why it can sometimes feel like your skin is really dry if you dont rinse it off. Methanol on the otherhand goes through the skin and is toxic.

Limited exposure (small spill on the hand which is washed off immediately) shouldnt cause anyone too much bother but as has been said below, treat all flammable liquids with respect, don't drink it (or taste,sniff etc) and if possible wear gloves when handling.
White spirit is toxic too, on a par with Methanol. It contains all sort of other unlisted solvents and as a cheap petrochemical, also contains plenty of other nasties. It also penetrates skin readily, but doesn't evaporate any where near as quickly. They both carry the same warning labels.

I work with both daily and wish I'd followed the advice in your last sentence when I started. :)
 

cbr6fs

Native
Mar 30, 2011
1,620
0
Athens, Greece
Hi cbr6fs,

Apologies I should have clarified that, self/auto ignition temps are in the 300-400 degrees C range.
Hi,

You've made some fantastic posts with accurate and helpful info so certainly no need to apologise.
The reason i tried to clarify is because i have been asked on car forums about auto-ignition and flashpoints of methanol.

I am not sure why Methanol gets separated out so much.
Treat ALL fuels with respect and you are fine
you wouldn't drink petrol so why would you drink methanol?
Having worked in the analytical industry, There are far more dangerous solvents around yet used safely. i.e. treated with respect.
I suspect there are more deaths/injuries with butane/propane per year then methanol.
Alan

Given enough quantities and time pretty much everything is toxic, water, even the air we breath.
I do agree though ALL fuels should be handled with care.

The problem with Methanol related injuries is they're not always obvious straight away, it can take time for the methanol to take effect, after which there is not much you can do.

As it goes i use Methanol and have large barrels in my garage, i'm not overly concerned about my families safety, BUT for the sake of slipping on some gloves and safety glasses it's pretty lazy or stupid not too.
It takes seconds to put on gloves and glasses and if those few seconds reduce any risks by as little as 1 in a million it's still a good trade off IMO.

Gloves are ok but I've had them melt on me when handling chemicals back in my undergrad days.
Imagine how bad your hands would have been if you hadn't been wearing gloves ;)

Basic common sense to use gloves that are appropriate to the chemicals your using IMO.
No good putting on gloves that are made of a material that reacts with methanol, if that's what your handling.
 

resnikov

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
For me it was what the uni supplied. You handled it quickly and correctly and hopefully didn't spill it. If you did gloves off quick and wash your hands well. Worst I got at uni was burnt airways from conc ammonia. Hurt like b1tch for a few days but don't think any long-term issues, my own fault but hey that's why I'm not a chemist now :p