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Family admitted to hospital after using methanol to disinfect home


A woman in her 40s and her two children in Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province, were admitted to a hospital showing symptoms of intoxication after the woman used a methanol-based substance to disinfect her home against COVID-19, a government agency said Sunday.

According to the Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency, earlier this month the woman sprayed a 9:1 solution of methanol to water on furniture, blankets and other items in her home about 10 times.

The woman later showed signs of acute intoxication including stomachache, nausea and dizziness, as did her children. She inquired about the situation with the agency and the three received emergency treatment at a nearby hospital.

Following the incident, on Sunday the agency issued a warning against the use of methanol as a substitute for ethanol, widely used by many here to guard against the coronavirus. In Iran, scores died after consuming fake alcohol drinks using the toxic methanol in the misguided hope of protecting themselves against the virus.

“Methanol is a transparent liquid with strong flammability that irritates the eyes and respiratory system. Long-term or repeated exposure to the toxic substance damages the central nervous system and the optic nerve,” according to an agency official.

By Kim Bo-gyung (