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Subject: Alcohols (Volatiles, Solvents)
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Alcohols are organic compounds that contain the −OH group, including methanol (CH3OH), ethanol (ethyl alcohol; C2H5OH), isopropanol (rubbing alcohol), and methanol (wood alcohol). Although acetone (CH3COCH3) is a ketone, not an alcohol, it is included in this group, because it is often detected in the same testing methodology.
Ethanol: <10 mg/dL.
50 mg/dL: decreased inhibition, slight incoordination
100 mg/dL: slow reaction time; altered sensory ability
150 mg/dL: altered thought processes; personality, behavior changes
200 mg/dL: staggering gait, nausea, vomiting, mental confusion
300 mg/dL: slurred speech, sensory loss, visual disturbance
400 mg/dL: hypothermia, hypoglycemia, poor muscle control, seizures
700 mg/dL: unconsciousness, decreased reflexes, respiratory failure (may also occur at lower concentrations)
Isopropanol (isopropyl alcohol): <10 mg/dL (normal); toxic effects generally seen at 50–100 mg/dL.
Methanol: <10 mg/dL (normal); levels >25 mg/dL are generally considered toxic.
Acetone: <10 mg/dL; effects are said to be similar to ethanol for similar blood levels, but the anesthetic potency is greater.
Solvent and reagent
Vehicle in chemical and pharmaceutical industries
Antiseptic (isopropyl alcohol)
Immunoassay testing for ethanol may have cross-reactivity <1% with isopropanol alcohol, methanol, ethylene glycol, and acetaldehyde; <15% with n-propanol.
Elevated concentrations of acetone are detected in specimens during diabetic ketoacidosis and fasting ketoacidosis and may range from 10 to 70 mg/dL.
In many headspace gas chromatographic methods, acetonitrile coelutes with acetone, leading to a false-positive result. Acetonitrile may be a component in cosmetic nail remover.
A positive urine ethanol due to the presence of yeast in the patient's urine has been described. In these cases, glucose was also present in the urine.