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    IPCS INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMME ON CHEMICAL SAFETY
    Health and Safety Guide No. 105

    METHANOL
    HEALTH AND SAFETY GUIDE






    UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME

    INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANISATION

    WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION




    WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION, GENEVA 1997

    This is a companion volume to
    Environmental Health Criteria 196: Methanol


    Published by the World Health Organization for the International
    Programme on Chemical Safety (a collaborative programme of the United
    Nations Environment Programme, the International Labour Organisation,
    and the World Health Organization) and produced within the framework
    of the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of
    Chemicals

    WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION, GENEVA 1997

    This report contains the collective views of an international group of
    experts and does not necessarily represent the decisions or the stated
    policy of the United Nations Environment Programme, the International
    Labour Organisation, or the World Health Organization.

    WHO Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

    Methanol: health and safety guide.

    (Health and safety guide ; no. 105)

    1.Alcohol, Methyl - toxicity    2.Environmental exposure
    I.Series

    ISBN 92 4 151105 2    (NLM Classification: QV 83)
    ISSN 0259-7268

    The World Health Organization welcomes requests for permission to
    reproduce or translate its publications, in part or in full.
    Applications and enquiries should be addressed to the Office of
    Publications, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, which
    will be glad to provide the latest information on any changes made to
    the text, plans for new editions, and reprints and translations
    already available.

    (c) World Health Organization 1997

    Publications of the World Health Organization enjoy copyright
    protection in accordance with the provisions of Protocol 2 of the
    Universal Copyright Convention. All rights reserved.

    The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this
    publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on
    the part of the Secretariat of the World Health Organization
    concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or
    of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or
    boundaries.

    The mention of specific companies or of certain manufacturers'
    products does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by the
    World Health Organization in preference to others of a similar nature
    that are not mentioned. Errors and omissions excepted, the names of
    proprietary products are distinguished by initial capital letters.

    CONTENTS

    INTRODUCTION

    1. PRODUCT IDENTITY AND USES

         1.1. Identity
         1.2. Physical and chemical properties
               1.2.1. Physical properties
         1.3. Analytical methods
         1.4. Production and uses

    2. SUMMARY AND EVALUATION

         2.1. Human exposure to methanol
         2.2. Uptake, metabolism and excretion
         2.3. Effects on organisms in the environment
         2.4. Effects on laboratory animals and  in vitro test systems
         2.5. Effects on humans

    3. CONCLUSIONS

    4. HUMAN HEALTH HAZARDS, PREVENTION AND PROTECTION, EMERGENCY ACTION

         4.1. Human health hazards, prevention and protection, first aid
         4.2. Information for physicians
         4.3. Health surveillance advice
         4.4. Explosion and fire hazards
               4.4.1. Explosion hazards
               4.4.2. Fire hazards
               4.4.3. Prevention
               4.4.4. Fire-extinguishing agents
         4.5. Storage
         4.6. Transport
         4.7. Spillage and disposal

    5. HAZARDS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND THEIR PREVENTION

    6. SUMMARY OF CHEMICAL SAFETY INFORMATION

    7. CURRENT REGULATIONS, GUIDELINES AND STANDARDS

         7.1. Exposure limit values
         7.2. Labelling, packaging and transport

    BIBLIOGRAPHY
    

    INTRODUCTION

    The Environmental Health Criteria (EHC) monographs produced by the
    International Programme on Chemical Safety include an assessment of
    the effects on the environment and on human health of exposure to a
    chemical or combination of chemicals, or physical or biological
    agents. They also provide guidelines for setting exposure limits.

    The purpose of a Health and Safety Guide is to facilitate the
    application of these guidelines in national chemical safety
    programmes. The first three sections of a Health and Safety Guide
    highlight the relevant technical information in the corresponding EHC.
    Section 4 includes advice on preventive and protective measures and
    emergency action; health workers should be thoroughly familiar with
    the medical information to ensure that they can act efficiently in an
    emergency. Within the Guide is a Summary of Chemical Safety
    Information which should be readily available, and should be clearly
    explained, to all who could come into contact with the chemical. The
    section on regulatory information has been extracted from the legal
    file of the International Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals
    (IRPTC) and from other United Nations sources.

    The target readership includes occupational health services, those in
    ministries, governmental agencies, industry, and trade unions who are
    involved in the safe use of chemicals and the avoidance of
    environmental health hazards, and those wanting more information on
    this topic. An attempt has been made to use only terms that will be
    familiar to the intended user. However, sections 1 and 2 inevitably
    contain some technical terms. A bibliography has been included for
    readers who require further background information.

    Revision of the information in this Guide will take place in due
    course, and the eventual aim is to use standardized terminology.
    Comments on any difficulties encountered in using the Guide would be
    very helpful and should be addressed to:

    The Director
    International Programme on Chemical Safety
    World Health Organization
    1211 Geneva 27
    Switzerland

                                        

    THE INFORMATION IN THIS GUIDE
    SHOULD BE CONSIDERED AS A
    STARTING POINT TO A COMPREHENSIVE
    HEALTH AND SAFETY PROGRAMME

                                       

    1.  PRODUCT IDENTITY AND USES 

    1.1  Identity

    Common name:                  methanol

    Chemical formula:             CH3OH

    Chemical structure:
                                      H
                                      '
                                  H - C - OH
                                      '
                                      H

    Relative molecular mass:      32.04

    Common synonyms:              methyl alcohol; methyl carbinol;
                                  carbinol;  wood alcohol; wood spirits;
                                  wood naphtha; Columbian spirits;
                                  Manhattan spirits

    Abbreviations:                None

    CAS registry number:          67-56-1

    RTECS number:                 PC 1400000

    United Nations number:        1230

    EC number:                    603-001-00-X

    Conversion factors:           1 ppm = 1.31 mg/m3;
                                  1 mg/m3 = 0.763 ppm at 25C and
                                  101.4 kPa (760 mmHg)

    1.2  Physical and chemical properties

         Methanol is a colourless, polar, volatile, flammable liquid with
    a mild alcoholic odour when pure. It decomposes on heating producing
    carbon monoxide and formaldehyde. Methanol reacts violently with
    oxidizing materials such as perchlorates, chromium trioxide, bromine,
    sodium hypochlorite, chlorine and hydrogen peroxide resulting in fire
    and explosive mixtures.

         Methanol mixes well with air, easily forming explosive mixtures.
    It is miscible with water, alcohols, esters, ketones and most organic
    solvents and forms many azeotropic mixtures.

         Methanol for laboratory use is available in various purity grades
    for fine chemicals: 1) "synthesis" quality corresponding to normal
    commercial methanol; 2) certified analytical quality and 3) extremely
    pure quality for semiconductor manufacture. In addition to laboratory
    grades, commercial methanol is generally classified according to ASTM
    purity grades A and AA. The composition of methanol varies according
    to synthesis conditions. In addition to water, typical impurities
    include acetone, acetaldehyde, ethanol and higher alcohols, methyl
    formate and higher esters.

    1.2.1  Physical properties

         Melting  point (C)                -97.8
         Boiling point (C)                 64.7
         Refractive index n20               1.3284
         Solubility in water                miscible
         Relative density (d 20/4)          0.7915
         Relative vapour density            1.1
             (air= 1)
         Vapour pressure (kPa at 20C)      12.3
         Ignition temperature (C)          470
         Explosive limits in air            lower 5.5
         (% by volume)                      upper 44
         Flash-point (C)
            (open cup)                      15.60
            (closed cup)                    12.20

    1.3  Analytical methods

         For the analysis of production batches of methanol, comparative
    ultraviolet spectroscopy has proved to be a convenient rapid test
    method. Further tests for establishing the quality of methanol include
    measurements of boiling point range, permanganate number, turbidity
    colour index and acid number.

         More comprehensive tests include water determination according to
    the Karl Fischer method and gas chromatographic determination of
    by-products of synthesis. The most important standardized test methods
    for methanol are: ASTM D1078, boiling range; ASTM D1209, colour index;
    ASTM D1353, dry residue; ASTM D1363, permanganate number; ASTM D1364,
    water content; ASTM D1612, acetone content; ASTM D1613, acid content;
    and ASTM D941, density.

    1.4  Production and uses

         Modern industrial-scale methanol production is based exclusively
    on the catalytic conversion of pressurized synthesis gas (hydrogen,
    carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide) in the presence of metallic

    heterogenous catalysts. All carbonaceous materials such as coal, coke,
    natural gas, petroleum and fractions obtained from petroleum (asphalt,
    gasoline and gaseous compounds) can be employed as starting material
    for synthesis gas production.

         The required synthesis pressure is dependent upon the activity of
    the particular metallic catalyst employed with copper-containing zinc
    oxide-alumina catalysts, the most effective employed with low pressure
    processes (50-100 atm) in modern methanol plants. Methanol is purified
    by distillation.

         Prior to 1930, the earliest important source of methanol (wood
    alcohol) was the dry distillation of wood at about 350C.

         Approximately 70% of the methanol produced worldwide is used in
    chemical synthesis.  The products, in order of importance, are: methyl
    tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE), formaldehyde, acetic acid, methyl
    methacrylate and dimethyl terephthalate.

         Methanol is widely used as an industrial and laboratory solvent
    for extracting, washing, drying and recrystallization.

         Methanol is present in a broad variety of commercial and consumer
    products, including paints, varnishes, shellacs, antifreeze and
    gasoline deicers, windshield washer fluids, cleansing solutions, mixed
    solvents in duplicating machines, and hobby glues and adhesives.

         Only a small proportion of methanol is currently used for energy
    production. There is a potential for its use as an oxygenate for
    alternative fuel or in fuel blends with gasolines.

    2.  SUMMARY AND EVALUATION

    2.1  Human exposure to methanol

         Methanol occurs naturally. It is a natural constituent in blood,
    urine, saliva and expired air. Mean blood methanol levels of about
    0.73 mg/litre in unexposed individuals have been reported. A mean
    level of 0.25 g methanol/litre is expired by unexposed humans. The
    two most important sources of background body burdens of methanol (and
    its metabolite formate) are diet and metabolic processes.

         Methanol is available in the diet principally from fresh citrus
    fruits and juices, vegetables, fermented beverages and diet foods
    (principally soft drinks) containing the artificial sweetener
    aspartame (which on hydrolysis yields 10% by weight of the molecule to
    free methanol that is available for absorption).

         The general population may be exposed to methanol principally
    from air emissions from miscellaneous industrial and domestic solvent
    use, methanol production, end-product manufacturing and bulk storage
    and handling losses. General population exposures through air are
    currently typically 10 000 times lower than occupational limits.

         Occupational exposure to methanol via inhalation is generally low
    but may be greater in less controlled conditions.  Accidental or
    intentional ingestion of methanol-containing products occurs less
    frequently and is associated with high morbidity and mortality.

    2.2  Uptake, metabolism and excretion

         Methanol is readily absorbed by inhalation, ingestion and dermal
    exposure and is rapidly distributed to tissues according to the
    distribution of body water. A small amount of methanol is excreted
    unchanged by the lungs and kidneys.

         Metabolism of methanol occurs in a three-step process initially
    involving oxidation to formaldehyde by hepatic alcohol dehydrogenase,
    which is a saturable rate-limiting process. In the second step,
    formaldehyde is oxidized by aldehyde dehydrogenase to formic acid or
    formate depending on the pH. In the third step, formic acid is
    detoxified by a folate-dependent pathway to carbon dioxide.
    Elimination of methanol from the blood appears to be slow in all
    species, especially when compared to ethanol. In humans, urinary
    methanol concentrations have been found to be proportional to the
    concentration of methanol in blood.

         Formate clearance from the blood of exposed primates is at least
    50% slower than for rodents.

    2.3  Effects on organisms in the environment

         Methanol is readily degraded in the environment by photooxidation
    and by biodegradation processes. Many genera and strains of
    microorganisms are capable of using methanol as a growth substrate.
    Methanol is readily degradable under both aerobic and anaerobic
    conditions in a broad spectrum of environmental media including fresh
    and salt water, sediments and soils, ground water, aquifer material
    and industrial wastewater.

         Methanol is a normal growth substrate for many soil
    microorganisms, which are capable of completely degrading methanol to
    carbon dioxide and water.

         LC50 values in aquatic organisms range from 1300 to
    15 900 mg/litre for invertebrates (48- and 96-h exposures), and
    13 000 to 29 000 mg/litre for fish (96-h exposure).

         LC50 values in aquatic organisms range from 1300 to
    15 900 mg/litre for invertebrates (48-h and 96-h exposures), and
    13 000 to 29 000 mg/litre for fish (96-h exposures).

         Methanol is of low toxicity to aquatic and terrestrial organisms
    and effects due to environmental exposure to methanol are unlikely to
    be observed, except in the case of spillage.

    2.4  Effects on laboratory animals and in vitro test systems

         Methanol has a low acute toxicity to non-primate animals. The
    LD50 values after oral exposure in the rat, mouse, rabbit and dog
    range from 6200 to 13 000 mg/kg and the MLD value is 2000-7000 mg/kg
    for the monkey.

         Methanol causes profound species-specific toxicity, dependent on
    the extent to which formate accumulates in the body following methanol
    exposure. Sensitive primate species develop increased blood formate
    concentrations following methanol exposure while resistant rodents,
    rabbits and dogs do not.

         Exposure of non-primate laboratory mammals to high methanol doses
    results in CNS depression. Toxic effects found in methanol-exposed
    primates include metabolic acidosis and ocular toxicity, effects not
    normally found in methanol-exposed lower animals.

         Monkeys exposed by inhalation to up to 6550 mg/m3 (5000 ppm)
    methanol 6 h/day, 5 days/week for 4 weeks, showed no treatment-related
    effects. Twenty repeated exposures to 6550 mg/m3 failed to elicit
    optic effects in exposed monkeys.

         The inhalation of methanol by pregnant rodents throughout the
    period of embryogenesis induces a wide range of concentration-
    dependent teratogenic and embryolethal effects.

         Negative findings have been reported in studies investigating
    the ability of methanol to produce gene mutations in bacteria
    ( Salmonella typhimurium and E.coli) and yeast ( Saccharomyces 
     pombe).  It  induces chromosomal malsegragation in  Aspergillus 
     nidulans.

         Methanol does not induce sister chromatid exchanges in Chinese
    hamster cells  in vitro but caused significant increases in mutation
    frequencies in L5178Y mouse lymphoma cells.  Administration by
    inhalation does not induce chromosomal damage in mice, but there is
    some evidence that oral or intraperitoneal administration does.

         There are no adequate studies to assess carcinogenicity.

    2.5  Effects on humans

         Methanol is irritating to the eyes, skin and respiratory tract. 
    A broad range of ocular effects have been associated with longer-term
    occupational exposure to lower levels of methanol.  Acute oral and
    inhalation exposures and, to a lesser extent, percutaneous absorption
    of high concentrations of methanol have resulted in central nervous
    system depression, blindness, coma and death.

         Repeated or prolonged contact of methanol with skin may result in
    dermatitis. Liquid methanol defats the skin. It is also an effective
    extracting solvent and may damage the skin permeability barrier.

         Nearly all the information on methanol toxicity in humans relates
    to the consequences of acute rather than chronic exposure and the vast
    majority of poisonings result from the consumption of adulterated
    beverages or methanol-containing products. Although oral ingestion is
    the most frequent route of poisoning, in severe and exceptional
    conditions inhalation of methanol vapour and percutaneous absorption
    of methanolic liquids are also effective in producing acute toxic
    syndrome characterized by metabolic acidosis, central nervous system
    depression, blindness, coma and death.

         The severity of the metabolic acidosis is variable and may not
    correlate well with the amount of methanol ingested. The variability
    of the toxic dose is a prominent feature in methanol toxicity.

         The symptoms of methanol poisoning, which may not appear for 12
    to 24 h, include visual disturbances, nausea, abdominal and muscle
    pain, dizziness, weakness and disturbances of consciousness ranging
    from coma to clonic seizures.

         The lethal dose of methanol for humans is not known for certain,
    but is reported to range from 0.3 to 1 g/kg.  Autopsies from victims
    of lethal methanol poisoning reveal retinal and optic nerve
    degeneration and gross pathology in the visceral organs, lungs and
    central nervous system, involving a variety of oedematous,
    haemorrhagic and degenerative changes.

         Visual disturbances of several types (blurring, constriction of
    the visual field, changes in colour perception and temporary or
    permanent blindness) have been reported in workers exposed to methanol
    air levels in excess of occupational exposure limits.

         No epidemiological data are available to evaluate the
    carcinogenicity of methanol for humans.  Folate-deficient individuals
    might be at greater risk of methanol toxicity compared to normal
    individuals.  Human populations that are potentially at risk of folate
    deficiency include pregnant women, the elderly, alcoholics,
    individuals with poor quality diets and individuals on certain
    medication.

    3. CONCLUSIONS

         The general population may be exposed to very low levels of
    methanol due to emissions in air from its production, end-uses,
    storage and handling, and the broad range of methanol-containing
    products.

         Occupational exposure may occur during the production of methanol
    and its storage and handling, as well as in end-use product synthesis.
    Although the individual responses of humans to methanol may vary
    considerably, industrial exposures are not considered hazardous if
    concentrations are maintained within prescribed occupational exposure
    limits.

         Methanol occurs naturally and is present in the diet.  It can be
    absorbed rapidly by the inhalation, oral and dermal routes and
    distributed in the body, but it is only slowly metabolized to formate
    (which is believed to be the cause of visual damage) and then
    excreted.  Methanol is rapidly degraded in the environment with no
    evidence of bioaccumulation. The available data do not indicate that
    there are any significant effects in the environment.

    4.  HUMAN HEALTH HAZARDS, PREVENTION AND PROTECTION, EMERGENCY ACTION

    4.1  Human health hazards, prevention and protection, first aid

         Methanol vapour and solutions are irritating to the skin and
    eyes. Prolonged or repetitive skin contact can cause dryness, cracking
    and dermatitis.

         Methanol is well absorbed by the inhalation, oral and
    percutaneous routes and can cause metabolic acidosis and damage to the
    central nervous system, optic nerve, retina and liver. The onset of
    symptoms may be delayed following exposure (see Summary of Chemical
    Safety Information, section 6).

    4.2  Information for physicians

         Full information on the diagnosis and treatment of methanol
    poisoning is contained in the IPCS Poisons Information Monograph
    No. 335.

         Thorough and vigorous washing of the skin with water will
    minimize systemic absorption following skin contamination. Gastric
    decontamination should be considered if the patient is seen relatively
    early (e.g., within one hour after ingestion).

         Following ingestion, effects may be delayed and it is important
    to keep the patient under observation. The treatment of poisoning is
    based upon the use of ethanol as antidote, haemodialysis and
    correction of acidosis (by bicarbonate administration). It is
    recommended to contact urgently the nearest poisons information
    centre.

    4.3  Health surveillance advice

         Control of exposure by containment and good working conditions
    and hygiene is most important.

         A complete medical and occupational pre-employment history should
    be taken and a physical examination performed with particular
    attention to the skin, eyes, liver and kidneys.  Pre-existing skin
    disease and a history of alcoholism require a decision as to fitness
    for employment.

         Because the recognized toxic effects of methanol include retinal
    toxicity, optic atrophy and blindness, pre-existing eye disease and
    folic acid deficiency should be identified and used as a baseline for
    future health assessments.

         Subsequent medical examination should be on a regular basis, and
    should also be performed in the event of excessive exposure, splashes
    in the eye or for any employee who develops ocular symptoms while
    working with methanol.

    4.4  Explosion and fire hazards

    4.4.1  Explosion hazards

         Methanol vapour/air mixtures are explosive. Violent reactions of
    methanol can occur with oxidizing agents (see section 1.2).

    4.4.2  Fire hazards

         Methanol is highly flammable and burns with an invisible or light
    blue flame. Methanol may be ignited by heat, sparks or flames and
    vapour may travel to a source of ignition and flash back.

    4.4.3  Prevention

         There should be no ignition sources such as open flames, sparks
    or smoking in the vicinity of methanol storage or use. Contact of
    methanol with oxidants should be avoided. Methanol must be used and
    stored in cool closed systems with adequate ventilation and explosion-
    proof electrical equipment and lighting.

    4.4.4  Fire-extinguishing agents

         Small fires can be fought with dry chemical, carbon dioxide,
    water spray, alcohol-resistant foam or, if these are not available, by
    dilution with plenty of water.

         Large fires can be attacked with water spray, fog or alcohol-
    resistant foam.

         Water spray should be used to cool down containers in fire area.

    4.5  Storage

         Methanol should be stored in clean containers made from either
    mild steel, stainless steel, high density polyethylene or vulcanized
    natural rubber.  Unsuitable container materials include zinc,
    aluminium, magnesium, magnesium alloys, lead, tin, titanium,
    plasticised PVC, polystyrene or polymethyl-methacrylate.  Storage
    tanks should be constructed with an internal floating roof and an
    inert gas pad to minimize vapour emissions.

         Methanol should be stored in well-ventilated areas away from
    direct sunlight and moisture.  It should not be stored with oxidizing
    materials such as perchlorates, chromium trioxide, bromine, sodium
    hypochlorite, chlorine or hydrogen peroxide, owing to fire and
    explosive dangers.

         Because of the flammability of methanol, storage tanks should be
    enclosed by a dike and protected by a foam-type (either carbon dioxide
    or dry chemical) fire-extinguishing system.

    4.6  Transport

         All shipping containers (tank cars, tank trucks, barges, drums
    and barrels) should be of carbon steel and in a clean and dry
    condition prior to loading.

         Air pressure should never be used to load or unload methanol.
    Pumping is preferred but inert gas should be used when pressure
    loading or unloading.

         In case of an accident involving tank trucks or transport
    carrying drums or barrels of methanol, the vehicle should be
    immediately stopped, and all sources of ignition rapidly removed.  In
    case of spillage or fire, methods advised in sections 4.7 and 4.4,
    respectively, should be used.

    4.7  Spillage and disposal

         Evacuate danger area, collect leaking liquid in sealable
    containers, or dike far ahead of liquid spill for later disposal.
    Flush spilled liquids with copious amounts of water and prevent direct
    access of run-off to water courses.

         For relatively small spillages (about 25 litres), the liquid may
    be absorbed onto sand or vermiculite and transferred into suitable
    containers. The site of the spillage should be washed thoroughly with
    water.

         Protective wear, appropriate to the degree of spillage, should
    be worn, and personnel allowed to enter the hazard area only when
    necessary.  Extra personal protection can be achieved by using
    complete protective clothing, including self-contained breathing
    apparatus.

    5.  HAZARDS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND THEIR PREVENTION

         Methanol does not pose a significant hazard for aquatic or
    terrestrial life, except in the case of a spillage.  Contamination of
    soil, water and the atmosphere can be avoided by proper methods of
    storage, handling, transport and waste disposal.

    6.  SUMMARY OF CHEMICAL SAFETY INFORMATION

                                                                        

          This summary should be easily available to all health workers 
     concerned with, and users of methanol. It should be displayed at or 
     near entrances to areas where there is potential exposure to 
     methanol, and on processing equipment and containers. The summary 
     should be translated into the appropriate language(s). All persons 
     potentially exposed to the chemical should also have the 
     instructions in the summary clearly explained. 

          The National Occupational Exposure Limit, the address and 
     telephone number of the nearest Poison Information Centre, and 
     local trade names should be added to the summary. 

                                                                        


        SUMMARY OF CHEMICAL SAFETY INFORMATION

                                                                                                                                              

                                                                        METHANOL
                                                                          CH3OH
                                                                                                                                              

    PHYSICAL PROPERTIES                                                                       OTHER CHARACTERISTICS
                                                                                                                                              

    Relative molecular mass                 32.04                                             Flammable liquid; slight alcoholic odour
    Melting point (C)                      -97.8                                             when pure; crude material may have a
    Boiling point (C) (760 mmHg)           64.7                                              repulsive pungent odour; burns with
    Flash point (closed up) (C)            12.2                                              non-luminous blue flame; miscible with
    Ignition temperature (C)               470                                               water, ethanol, ether, benzene, ketones
    Relative density (20C)                 0.792                                             and most other organic solvents
    Relative vapour density                 1.1
    Vapour pressure (kPa at 20C)           12.3
                                                                                                                                              

    HAZARDS/SYMPTOMS                        PREVENTION AND PROTECTION                         FIRST AID
                                                                                                                                              

    SKIN: Vapour and solutions are          Wear protective gloves and protective clothing    Remove contaminated clothing immediately,
    irritant; irritation, redness                                                             wash contaminated skin thoroughly with
                                                                                              clear running water and refer for medical
                                                                                              attention

    EYES: irritation, redness, pain         Ensure vapour concentrations are below            Rinse eyes with plenty of water for at least
                                            occupational exposure limits; wear chemical       15 min, then obtain medical advice
                                            safety goggles; use face visor when handling
                                            solutions
                                                                                                                                              

    SUMMARY OF CHEMICAL SAFETY INFORMATION (Con't)

                                                                                                                                              

                                                                        METHANOL
                                                                          CH3OH
                                                                                                                                              

    PHYSICAL PROPERTIES                                                                       OTHER CHARACTERISTICS
                                                                                                                                              

    INGESTION AND SYSTEMIC                  Do not eat, drink or smoke during work            Do not induce vomiting; obtain medical
    ABSORPTION BY OTHER ROUTES:                                                               attention immediately; the possibility of
    Possibility of delayed CNS, optic                                                         alcohol administration should be considered
    nerve, retina and liver damage
                                                                                                                                              

    SPILLAGE                                STORAGE                                           FIRE AND EXPLOSION
                                                                                                                                              

    SOLUTIONS:  Evacuate danger area,       Store in cool, fireproof area separated from
    collect leaking liquid in sealable      strong oxidants
    containers, wash away spilled liquid
    with plenty of water
                                                                                                                                              

    WASTE DISPOSAL                                                                            LABELLING
                                                                                                                                              

    Collect in sealable containers                                                            United Nations Hazard Class; 3
                                                                                              Subsidiary risks; 6.1
                                                                                              Packing group; 11
                                                                                                                                              
    
    7.  CURRENT REGULATIONS, GUIDELINES AND STANDARDS

    7.1  Exposure limit values

         Some exposure limit values are given in the accompanying table.

    7.2  Labelling, packaging and transport

         UN:  UN Hazard Class: 3
              UN Subsidiary Risks: 6.1
              UN Packing Group: 11

         EU:  The European Union legislation requires labelling as a
              dangerous substance, using the designated symbols.

         The following standard risk phrases should be used:

              F symbol, T symbol
              R: 11-23/25
              S: 2-7-16-24


        CURRENT REGULATIONS, GUIDELINES AND STANDARDS

                                                                                                                          

    Exposure Limit Values
                                                                                                                          

    Medium    Specification  Country/organization     Exposure limit description              Value        Effective date
                                                                                              (mg/m3)
                                                                                                                          

    AIR       Occupational   Australia                Time-weighted  average (TWA)            260
                                                      (skin absorption)
                                                      Short-term exposure limit (STEL)        310
                                                      (Skin absorption)

                             Belgium                  Time-weighted average (TWA)             262
                                                      (Skin absorption)
                                                      Short-term exposure limit (STEL)        328
                                                      (skin absorption)

                             Czech                    Time-weighted average (TWA)             100
                             Republic                 Short-term exposure limit (STEL)        500

                             Denmark                  Time-weighted average (TWA)             260            1988
                                                      (skin absorption)

                             Finland                  Time-weighted average (TWA)             260
                                                      (skin absorption)
                                                      Short-term exposure limit (STEL)        325

                             France                   Time-weighted average (TWA)             260            1982-1989
                                                      Short-term exposure limit (STEL)        1300

                             Germany                  Time-weighted average (TWA)             260            1990
                                                      (skin absorption)
                                                                                                                          

    CURRENT REGULATIONS, GUIDELINES AND STANDARDS (Con't)

                                                                                                                          

    Exposure Limit Values
                                                                                                                          

    Medium    Specification  Country/organization     Exposure limit description              Value        Effective date
                                                                                              (mg/m3)
                                                                                                                          

                             Hungary                  Time-weighted average (TWA)             50
                                                      (skin absorption)
                                                      Short-term exposure limit (STEL)        100
                                                      (skin absorption)

                             Ireland                  Time-weighted average (TWA)             262
                                                      (skin absorption)
                                                      Short-term exposure limit (STEL)        328
                                                      (skin absorption)

                             Italy                    Time-weighted average limit (STEL)      262
                                                      (skin absorption)
                                                      Short-term exposure limit (STEL)        328
                                                      (skin absorption)

                             Japan                    Time-weighted average (TWA)             260
                                                      (skin absorption)

                             Luxembourg               Time-weighted average (TWA)             262
                                                      (skin absorption)
                                                      Short-term exposure limit (STEL)        328
                                                      (skin absorption)

                             Netherlands              Time-weighted average (TWA)             260            1989
                                                                                                                          

    CURRENT REGULATIONS, GUIDELINES AND STANDARDS (Con't)

                                                                                                                          

    Exposure Limit Values
                                                                                                                          

    Medium    Specification  Country/organization     Exposure limit description              Value        Effective date
                                                                                              (mg/m3)
                                                                                                                          

                             Poland                   Time-weighted average (TWA)             100

                             Portugal                 Time-weighted average (TWA)             262
                                                      (skin absorption)
                                                      Short-term exposure limit (STEL)        328
                                                      (skin absorption)

                             Spain                    Time-weighted average (TWA)             262
                                                      (skin absorption)
                                                      Short-term exposure limit (STEL)        328
                                                      (skin absorption)

                             Sweden                   Time-weighted average (TWA)             250
                                                      (skin absorption)
                                                      Short-term exposure limit (STEL)        350
                                                      (skin absorption)

                             Switzerland              Time-weighted average (TWA)             260
                                                      (skin absorption)
                                                      Short-term exposure limit (STEL)
                                                      (skin absorption)                       520

                             United                   Time-weighted average (TWA)             260            1990
                             Kingdom                  (skin absorption)
                                                      Short-term exposure limit (STEL)        310
                                                      (skin absorption)
                                                                                                                          

    CURRENT REGULATIONS, GUIDELINES AND STANDARDS (Con't)

                                                                                                                          

    Exposure Limit Values
                                                                                                                          

    Medium    Specification  Country/organization     Exposure limit description              Value        Effective date
                                                                                              (mg/m3)
                                                                                                                          

                             USA                      Time-weighted average (TWA)             262            1989-
                             (ACGIH)                  (skin absorption)                                      1990
                                                      Short-term exposure limit (STEL)        328
                                                      (skin absorption)

                             USA                      Time-weighted average (TWA)             260
                             (NIOSH/OSHA)             (skin absorption)
                                                      Short-term exposure limit (STEL)        310
                                                      (skin absorption)

                             Former                   Time-weighted average (TWA)
                             USSR                     (skin absorption)
                                                      Short-term exposure limit (STEL)        5
                                                      (skin absorption)
                                                                                                                          
    
    BIBLIOGRAPHY

    ACGIH (1993-1994) Threshold limit values for chemical substances and
    physical agents and biological exposure indices. Cincinnati, American
    Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.

    CEC (1983) Occupational Health Guidelines for Chemical Risk, Publ.
    No. EUR 8513. Luxembourg, Commission of the European Communities,
    pp 88-89.

    CEC (1988) Solvents in common use. Health risks to workers. Commission
    of the European Communities. Cambridge, Royal Society of Chemistry,
    Publ. No. EUR 11553, pp 1-7, 157-186.

    CEC/IPCS (1990) International Chemical Safety Card 57: Methanol.
    Luxembourg, Commission of the European Communities.

    Clayton GD & Clayton FE (1994) Patty's industrial hygiene and
    toxicology. 4th ed., Vol.II, Part D., New York, Wiley-Interscience,
    John Wiley & Sons.

    Elvers B, Hawkins S & Schulz G eds. (1990) Ullmann's Encyclopedia of
    industrial chemistry. 5th ed., Vol. A16. Weinheim, VCH, pp 465-486.

    Grayson M ed. (1981) Kirk Othmer Encyclopedia of chemical technology,
    3rd ed., Vol. 15. New York, John Wiley & Sons, pp 398-405.

    Kavet R & Nauss KM (1990) The toxicology of inhaled methanol vapours.
    CRC Crit Revs Toxicol, 21: 21-52.

    Klassen CD, Amdur MO, & Doull J ed. (1986) Casarett and Doull's
    Toxicology. 3rd ed., New York, Macmillan Publishing Company.
    pp 503-504, 652-654.

    ILO (1983) Parmeggiani L ed., Encylopedia of occupational health and
    safety. 3rd revised ed., Vol. 2, (L-Z). Geneva, International Labour
    Office, pp 1356-1358.

    ILO (1991) Occupational exposure limits for airborne toxic substances.
    3rd ed., Geneva, International Labour Office, pp 256-258.

    IPCS (1995) Methanol: Poisons Information Monograph No. 335. Geneva,
    International Programme on Chemical Safety.

    IPCS (1997) Environmental Health Criteria:  Methanol. Geneva, World
    Health Organization.

    Sax NI (1984) Dangerous properties of industrial materials, 6th
    edition. New York, Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, Inc, pp 1764-1765.

    US NIOSH/OSHA (1985) Pocket guide to chemical hazards. Washington DC,
    US Department of Health and Human Services, US Department of Labor
    (Publication No. 85.114).
    


    See Also:
       Toxicological Abbreviations
       Methanol (EHC 196, 1997)
       Methanol (ICSC)
       Methanol (FAO Nutrition Meetings Report Series 48a)
       METHANOL (JECFA Evaluation)
       Methanol (PIM 335)