METHANE (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env & Eco)

News-CRUX-10     13th April 2024        

Context: The United States has recalled several lots of hand sanitisers and aloe gel due to toxic methanol content, citing health risks like nausea, coma, and even death.


  • About: It is a hydrocarbon that is a primary component of natural gas.
  • Properties: Colourless, odourless and highly flammable gas.
  • Greenhouse Gas Properties: Methane is classified as a greenhouse gas (GHG), influencing Earth's temperature and climate patterns.
  • Diverse Emission Sources: Methane emissions stem from various anthropogenic and natural origins, contributing to its presence in the atmosphere.
  • Anthropogenic Emission Sources: Human activities such as landfills, oil and gas systems, agriculture, and industrial processes are major contributors to methane emissions.

Risk of exposure to toxic hand sanitisers

  • Wide Range of Adverse Effects: Exposure to toxic hand sanitisers can lead to various side effects, including nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, coma, seizures, permanent blindness, permanent damage to the central nervous system, or even death.
  • Children's Vulnerability: The US FDA highlights that children are particularly susceptible to the dangers of toxic hand sanitisers due to the possibility of accidental ingestion.
  • Substitute for Alcohol Consumption: Adolescents and adults who mistakenly use these products as a substitute for alcohol (ethanol) face a heightened risk of methanol poisoning.
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