What is Methanol?
Methanol is a toxic alcohol. It appears as a colorless liquid. You can’t find methanol in many household products due to its toxicity, but it makes a wonderful industrial solvent and alternative fuel source.
Methanol is also used as a pesticide and an industrial solvent. However, it is largely used as an alternative fuel source for vehicles. This chemical was approved as an alternative fuel source, or biofuel, by the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Methanol is mixed with gasoline to produce a new fuel source. Methanol burns “cleaner,” meaning that there are fewer greenhouse gases released with the burning of methanol than there are with gasoline.
What is Menthol?
Menthol is also an alcohol, though it does not have the toxic traits that methanol does. Menthol has a pepperminty odor due to the fact that it can be derived from peppermint oil. It can also be synthetically manufactured from thymol. Menthol is used in many different ways, including in many substances that are used every day. Because this alcohol isn’t toxic and it has a minty smell and flavor, it can be used medicinally (such as in cough drops and nasal inhalers), but it can also be used to flavor food, liqueurs, and cigarettes. Some cosmetics and perfumes utilize this alcohol for scent and potential flavoring.
Menthol is also responsible for the tingly-cold feeling that occurs when certain pain-relieving ointments are applied. The structure of menthol activates certain cold-receptors in the skin, which makes you feel that coolness when ointments of that nature are applied.
Menthol cigarettes still pose a danger, but not because of the menthol within the cigarette. It is dangerous because this chemical reduces airway pain and irritation as well as suppresses coughs when smoked. This makes these types of cigarettes “easier” to smoke, but the tobacco and the other chemicals added are still harmful to humans, even though the menthol is harmless.
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