Risks, Procedure & Results For Methanol Test

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Test for Methanol

Methanol or methyl alcohol is toxic, light colorless alcohol which is flammable and may cause blindness or even death if it is ingested. On account of its toxic properties, methanol is often used as a denaturant additive in the industry. Methanol is produced from the destructive distillation of wood and is sometimes referred to as wood alcohol for this reason. The test for methanol is carried out to measure the amount of methanol in your body.

Risks Involved While Conducting The Methanol Test

The risks included in the test for methanol are similar to any other blood test, like excessive bleeding, feeling faint or feeling lightheaded. Hematoma, a condition where blood accumulates under the skin is another risk factor. Also, multiple attempts may be required to locate veins depending upon the size of veins, which differ from one person to the next. And there is a slight risk of infection where the skin is broken. Methanol is very toxic and as little as two tablespoons of methanol in a child may prove to be deadly. While anything between 2-8 ounces can be deadly for an adult. Methanol poisoning mainly affects the gastrointestinal tract, the nervous system, and the eyes.


A test for methanol is done much in the same way as any other blood test. An elastic band is wrapped around the upper arm in order to increase the blood pressure in the lower arm. Then a needle is inserted usually on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand.  Before this however an antiseptic is used to clean and make the area of the puncture germ free. The blood is collected into an airtight vial and the elastic band is removed. Post this the puncture site is covered by dabbing a little cotton dipped in an antiseptic solution to stem the blood flow. In the case of children and infants, a lancet which is a sharp tool is used to puncture the skin and make it bleed. The blood sample is then collected in a pipette or on a slide and the area from which blood is drawn is then covered with a bandage. In most cases patients feel moderate pain, or a stinging sensation and no special preparation is required before doing the test.

Test Results

Absolutely no presence of methanol is normal after a test for methanol has been performed. If there are any traces of methanol found, a medical practitioner must be consulted because methanol is extremely poisonous. Accidently ingesting methanol or even intentionally drinking it as a substitute for grain alcohol must be strictly avoided.