Methanol is a colorless and odorless gas that is released by the oil refining process. If inhaled, absorbed or ingested by humans, methanol can be fatal. Methanol may cause respiratory problems, as well as gastrointestinal damage and kidney failure. High levels of methanol exposure may also lead to neurological issues and can cause birth defects in pregnant women.
Over 1 million pounds of methanol gas are released into the atmosphere in the U.S. alone on an annual basis. Louisiana, Texas and Georgia contain the highest amounts of traceable methanol gas in the country, and BP Chemicals in Alabama is included on the list of the top 100 methanol-waste producers.
Last modified: December 09, 2009.