Methanol toxicity in Iran

A misguided belief that methanol cures COVID-19 led to the death of nearly 300 people in Iran due to methanol poisoning.

About the Incident

A misinformation circulated on social media in Iran had suggested that alcohol can be used to cure COVID-19. This led to hundreds of people consuming industrial alcohol leading to the death of nearly 300 people and sickening of more than 1,000 people. Since drinking alcohol is banned in the Islamic Republic, people resorted to drinking industrial alcohol which contains methanol.

Methanol

Methanol is a type of alcohol that is added to industrial spirit to prevent its consumption by people. The alcoholic beverage that is consumed is ethanol. Methanol is toxic and causes nausea, chest pain, hyperventilation, blindness, coma and even death.

Alcohol Problem in Iran

Even before the onset of the pandemic, Iran had been battling methanol poisoning among its people. Reports say that over 70 people died of methanol poisoning in Iran between September and October in 2018. Drinking of alcohol is banned in Iran and many other Islamic countries leading to the growth of illegal alcohol sector which in turn has resulted in methanol poisoning.

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