Dr. Woodrow C. Monte’s Methanol Research – University Of Arizona - Part 8

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conversion to formaldehyde and formate, allowing the body time to excrete methanol in the breath and urine. Inhibition is seen in vitro even when the concentration of ethyl alcohol was only 1/16th that of methanol. The inhibitory effect is a linear function of the log of the ethyl alcohol concentration, with a 72% inhibition rate at only a 0.01 molar concentration of ethanol.

Oxidation of methanol, like that of ethanol, proceeds independently of the blood concentration, but a rate only one seventh to one fifth that of ethanol.

Folacin may play an important role in the metabolism of methanol by catalyzing toe elimination of formic acid. If this process proves to be a protective for humans as has been shown in other organisms it may account, in part for the tremendous variability of human responses to acute methanol toxicity. Folacin in a nutrient often found lacking in the normal human diet, particularly during pregnancy and lactation.


An average aspartame-sweetened beverage would have a conservative aspartame content of a bout 555 mg/liter, and therefore, a methanol equivalent of 56 mg/liter (56 ppm). For example, if a 25 kg child consumed on a warm day, after exercising, two-thirds of a two-liter bottle of soft drink sweetened with aspartame, that child would be consuming over 732 mg of aspartame (29 mg/kg). This alone exceeds what the Food and drug Administration considers the 99 - percentile daily consumption level of aspartame. The child would also absorb over 70 mg of methanol from that soft drink. This is almost ten times the Environmental Protection Agency's recommended daily limit of consumption for methanol.

To look at the issue from another perspective, the literature reveals death from consumption of the equivalent of 6 gm of methanol. It would take 200 12 oz. cans of soda to yield the lethal equivalent of 6 gm of methanol According to FDA regulations, compounds added to foods that are found to cause some adverse health effect at a particular usage level are actually permitted in foods only at much lower levels. The FDA has established these requirements so that an adequate margin of safety exists to protect particularly sensitive people and heavy consumers of the chemical. Section 170.22 of Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations mandates that this margin of safety be 100-fold below the "highest no-effect" level has tragically not been determined for methanol, but assuming very conservatively that the level is one tenth of the lethal dose, the FDA regulations should have limited consumption to approximately 2.4 ounces of aspartame sweetened soft drink per day,

The FDA allows a lower safety margin only when "evidence is submitted which justifies use of a different safety factor." (21.C.F.R. 170.22) No such evidence has been submitted to the FDA for methanol. Thus, not only have the FDA's requirements for...


Continue to Part 9


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