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About methanol

Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol or wood alcohol, can occur both naturally and as an industrial substance.

Methanol is used in a range of products, such as:

Methanol occurs naturally in foods and is a permitted food additive.

Safety of methanol

Under the Government of Canada's Chemicals Management Plan, we review and manage the potential risks that chemical substances can pose to Canadians and the environment. The first stage of the review process is a draft chemical risk assessment.

We've completed the draft assessment of methanol. We're proposing that breathing in the fumes from certain paint and varnish removers containing methanol may pose a health risk. It may result in developmental effects.

The draft assessment found that methanol:

What we're doing

Our assessment is not yet final. We're continuing to evaluate the potential risk posed by methanol before we publish our final conclusion. This includes:

If the proposed findings for methanol is confirmed in the final assessment, we will consider:

What you can do

Consumers are reminded to:

If you're unsure if your product contains methanol, contact the manufacturer.

If you're exposed to methanol at work, talk to your employer and occupational health and safety (OHS) official about:

For more information

For industry and professionals

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