“Cheers” to Ethanol-December 2010

Monthly Round Up of Important Ideas and Standards in
Industrial Hygiene and Safety 

December 2010


IN THIS ISSUE: “Cheers” to Ethanol

Ethanol is a volatile, colorless, chemical with a Threshold Limit Value of 1000 ppm and a strong, distinguishable odor.  It is highly flammable and may cause central nervous system depression characterized by excitement followed by headache, dizziness, drowsiness, and nausea. Prolonged exposures may cause collapse, unconsciousness, coma and possible death. It causes adverse reproductive and fetal effects in humans. With chronic exposure it may cause cirrhosis of the liver, and kidney and heart damage.

Nevertheless, ethanol by another name – drinking alcohol – is also very popular this holiday season.  As the component of beer, wine, and liquor that causes the ‘high’ of consuming alcoholic drinks, ethanol has helped countless revelers ring in the holiday spirit.  Beer is 3 to 6 percent ethanol, wine is 10 to 15 percent ethanol, and spirits often contain 40 percent or more.  With spirits, the alcohol concentration is written as proof – half of the percentage. For example, Wild Turkey 101 – my holiday ‘spirit’ of choice – contains 50.5 percent ethanol.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the holidays are one of the deadliest times of the year for ethanol-related (i.e. alcohol-related) accidents, with more than 1000 fatalities between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The organization offers these tips to avoid becoming one of the statistics:

  • Do not drink if you expect to drive.
  • Be, or arrange for a designated driver or a cab, for transportation.
  • Affix a red ribbon to your car as a reminder to other drivers that drinking and driving don’t mix.
  • Make a plan when having a get-together where alcohol is served. Provide plenty of food and stop offering drinks an hour before anyone leaves.

For more information on this topic and to discuss your company’s safety and industrial hygiene needs call OccuSafe at (214) 662-6005 or (303) 219-6973 or visit us at www.occusafeinc.com.

OccuSafe Industrial Hygiene & Safety, Inc. provides skills and expertise to recognize, evaluate and control hazards and injuries in the areas of industrial hygiene, occupational safety and health.OccuSafe services companies of all sizes in a range of industries.

This newsletter is published monthly by OccuSafe Industrial Hygiene & Safety, Inc.   Feel free to forward it to friends and colleagues.

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