What is methanol?



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    Methanol is a toxic chemical also known as methyl alcohol, wood alcohol, wood naphtha or wood spirits. It is the simplest alcohol, and is a light, volatile, colorless, flammable, liquid with a distinctive odor that is very similar to but slightly sweeter than drinking alcohol. The ancient Egyptians used a mixture of substances, including methanol, for the embalming process. The largest use of methanol by far is in making other chemicals: 40% of methanol is converted to formaldehyde, and from there into products as diverse as plastics, plywood, paints, explosives, and permanent press textiles.

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