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What are methylated spirits used for?

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Quick Answer

Methylated spirits are used in common household solvents. Methylated spirits contain methanol as an additive.

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Full Answer

Methylated spirits are a type of denatured alcohol. Products containing denatured alcohol are not meant for human consumption, so manufacturers use denaturants to give them an unpleasant taste. These additives also render the products poisonous, and therefore extremely dangerous for consumption. This is all done to prevent people from ingesting products for their alcohol content.

During the Prohibition Era, the federal government authorized the addition of methyl alcohol to prevent people from drinking bootlegged alcohol. Slate.com reports that the government denaturing program did not save people from drinking alcohol; approximately 10,000 people died from ingesting methylated spirits.

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