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Usually the term 'alcohol' refers to ethanol. Man has been using ethanol for thousands of years especially in the form of wine.
All these are important chemical compounds used further by chemical industries.
* Ethyl Alcohol is used as a solvent for many organic solutes, especially which are insoluble in water.
* It is used in the preparation of perfumes.
* It is used in the manufacturing of gasohol, which is 90% mixture of petrol (gasoline) and 10% ethanol. It helps to save gasoline.
* Ethyl Alcohol is used in making tinctures and medical syrups.
* It is used in alcoholic beverages.
* It is used as a solvent for paints, varnishes, dyes etc.
* It is used in the production of many organic compounds.
Effect of Alcohol on Human Beings
Chemically the term alcohol refers to a group of organic compounds, having
-OH group in their composition. But the word alcohol used by the common man refers to ethyl alcohol or ethanol. It has a variety of uses, especially as a solvent. But by far the greatest use of alcohol is in the form of alcoholic beverages, such as wine, beer, rum, brandy, whisky etc. In small quantities it may serve as a source of energy, but in large amounts, it affects the nervous system. The person experiences loss of control over muscles and loses his or her sense of balance and mental ability. It can be a habit-forming activity. If consumed over a period of time, alcohol can ruin one's health especially the liver, which gets affected by cirrhosis. This type of consumption can be fatal and ruins one's family life.
Methylated Spirit or Denatured Alcohol
Alcoholic drinks are heavily taxed by the government, so as to discourage people from over consuming it. Alcohol used for industrial and surgical purposes is not taxed heavily. But in order to prevent people from buying and consuming this alcohol, it is mandatory that ethyl alcohol be mixed with a certain percentage of highly poisonous methyl alcohol or methanol. This renders the ethyl alcohol unfit for human consumption. This mixture is called "Methylated Spirit". If chemicals like copper sulphate or pyridine are added to ethyl alcohol it is called 'denatured alcohol'.
Denatured spirit or methylated spirit mixture is prepared to prevent people from drinking ethanol heavily.
This is illicit liquor made by improper distillation or by using methylated spirit. It is cheap and is mostly used by the lower strata of our society. It contains higher percentage of methyl alcohol, which is poisonous. Consumption of such liquor may cause blindness, other serious health problems and even death. Sometimes even other chemicals are mixed with the ethyl alcohol so that the consumer gets a feeling of "intoxication". Even these are highly poisonous and can cause severe damages to the body and even death can occur.