methanol, done! /dusts off hands

Posted on 07 July 2009

Methanol-alternative-3D-ballsNot content to leave methanol without drawing some theoretical conclusions, here’s the last I have to say on the topic.

  • Blood’s buffering capacity is around 38.5 mEq/L/pH at physiological pH levels, and is more capable of buffering in an acidic than an alkaline direction.
  • 1 mEq of formic acid is 46 milligrams.
  • Acidosis is clinically defined as a drop in blood pH below 7.35 (Edit: I forgot to mention, blood’s usual pH is 7.4). By those numbers above, I figure it would take about 88 milligrams of formic acid to reduce the pH of a litre of blood by this amount – remember, you’ve got around 5 litres of blood. You’d have to have over 20 times as much formic acid as is produced by the consumption of one can of artificially sweetened soft-drink. That’s a pretty big margin of safety right there. I mean, as that professor in the document I linked below says, toxicity is all about the dose.

“The adage among toxicologists is “the dose makes the poison”–vitamin
A, iron, and selenium, to name a few, are required by the body but are
toxic at too-high levels.”

So – unless someone can show how methanol harms humans in some way unrelated to the production of formic acid, I’m pretty satisfied this particular metabolic byproduct of aspartame is safe. This is consistent with empirical studies. Next, the other two! Well later, anyway. Feel free to tear down my logic or chemistry in the meantime. It’s been a loooong time since I’ve tried to figure out some of this stuff.


3 responses to methanol, done! /dusts off hands

  • Gus says:

    Cam, you are such a geek 🙂

    If you are confident that methanol is ok, down some methylated spirits. After all, it’s just ethanol with a small amount of methanol, right? Just a shotglass should do the trick 🙂

    Noting the toxicologist’s adage – isn’t water also toxic if the dosage is high enough?

    • cam says:

      Heh, not quite sure I’d say methanol is okay… I’ve no idea how much there is in metho and besides, it tastes nasty!
      And you’re right- water is toxic in high enough quantities! 🙂

    • cam says:

      5% methanol in metho – so something like 1.5ml per 30 ml shot or about 800mg. Instant metabolic acidosis! Well, not instant, maybe 12-24hours. No thanks!

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