Toxno Substance Profile
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Substance Name

Ethanol
Identification Number: CASRN | 64-17-5

  Substance Attributes


  • Known Human Carcinogen

    This is a serious nasty substance. Exposure to this substance leads to cancer in Humans. Exercise extreme caution with this substance, explore your exposure routes and very seriously consider complete avoidance. See further details under Toxins.

  • Carcinogenic Properties

    Accumulating evidence points to cancer potential. Exercise caution with this substance, explore your exposure routes and consider complete avoidance. See further details under Toxins.

  • Endocrine Disrupter

    Interferes with your hormones. Hormones are powerful messengers that can bind to DNA. You don't want to mess with them.

  • Mutagenic Properties

    Cause mutations to Genetic material like DNA, RNA or mitochondrial DNA

  • Reproductive Effects

    Interferes with fertility

  • Birth/Developmental

    Known to effect development of fetus.

  • Metabolic Interference or Disruption

    Interferes with human metabolism. This can be a very serious thing. Some of these interference mechanics are well established. However, often long term effects and health consequences remain largely unknown. Additionally an emerging area of concern and one that is not currently studied, is the combined synergistic effects these metabolically disrupting chemicals have on human health.


    Metabolic interference happens when the substance produces highly reactive and often damaging intermediates during detoxification or when the substance binds to specific enzymes, important structural groups on molecules, receptors and membranes or targets DNA or mimics key nutrients.

  • Exposure Produces Health Symptoms

    Symptoms maybe short term or long term depending on the exposure duration and intensity and effects areas like Cardiovascular, Gastrointestinal, Cognition, Fatigue. A substance with this attribute may cause an allergic skin reaction, serious eye irritation, allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled.

  • Toxic to specific organs

    Can damage liver, kidney, lungs, heart or gut. Ironically liver, kidneys and gut are the main detoxifications systems.

  • Soluble in Water

    This substance easily dissolves in water. As such it can be easily transported via waterways. Not really a nastiness attribute, but this feature helps rapidly spread other nastiness attributes this substance may have.

  • Volatile - Evaporates easily

    This substance easily enters the air we breath. Not really a nastiness attribute, but this feature helps rapidly spread other nastiness attributes this substance may have.

  • Has known Side Effects

    This is often the result of long or short term medication use. The same medication can have a range of side effects ranging from none at all to totally debilitating symptoms within different individuals. Reasons for this include individual genetics, individual detoxification capacity, nutrition status, duration of use and total number of medications being taken.


    It becomes very difficult to establish clear causes of symptoms when multiple medications are being taken at once.


    See SIDE EFFECTS LINKOUT at end of this profile.

These attributes are ONLY based on peer-reviewed evidence. See link to Data Sources below. Everyone benefits from knowing this stuff. Please Share.



  • CATEGORIES: Chemical Found in Air near CSG Operations | Chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluids | Medication or Drug | Household Toxin | Industrial/Workplace Toxin | Food Toxin | Natural Toxin | Odor | This Chemical is an Odorant and has a smell like - sweet | EAFUS (Everything Added to Food in the United States) | PESTICIDE active ingredient | Inert Pesticide Ingredient USA - Non Food Use Only | Inert Pesticide Ingredient USA - FRAGRANCE ( Generally Not used on Food) | Pesticide approved in USA (California) | A Hazardous Substance that may be found in the Australian Workplace
  • SUBSTANCE LINEAGE: Organic Compounds | Organooxygen Compounds | Alcohols and Polyols | Primary Alcohols | Primary Alcohols
  • SYNONYMS: 1-Hydroxyethane | Absolute alcohol | Absolute ethanol | Absolute ethyl alcohol | Aethanol | Aethylalkohol | Alcare Hand Degermer | Alcohol | Algrain | Alkohol | Alkoholu etylowego | Anhydrol | Anhydrous alcohol | C2H5OH | Cologne spirit | Cologne spirits | Dehydrated alcohol | Dehydrated ethanol | Denatured alcohol | Denatured ethanol | Diluted Alcohol | Distilled spirits | Etanol | Ethanol 200 proof | Ethanol solution | Ethicap | Ethyl alc | Ethyl alcohol | Ethyl alcohol anhydrous | Ethyl hydrate | Ethyl hydroxide | EtOH | Fermentation alcohol | Grain alcohol | Hinetoless | Hydroxyethane | Infinity Pure | Jaysol | Jaysol S | Lux | Methylcarbinol | Molasses alcohol | Potato alcohol | Punctilious ethyl alcohol | Pyro | Silent spirit | Spirit | Spirits of wine | Spiritus vini | Spirt | Synasol | Tecsol | Tecsol C | Thanol | Undenatured Ethanol | [CH2Me(OH)] | [OEtH]
  • DESCRIPTION: Has been used in CSG, Hydraulic Fracturing Operations (Fracking) as - Corrosion inhibitor, foaming agent, biocide, surfactant, disinfectant, unknown, fracturing | Ethanol is a clear, colorless liquid rapidly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and distributed throughout the body. It has bactericidal activity and is used often as a topical disinfectant. It is widely used as a solvent and preservative in pharmaceutical preparations as well as serving as the primary ingredient in alcoholic beverages. Indeed, ethanol has widespread use as a solvent of substances intended for human contact or consumption, including scents, flavorings, colorings, and medicines. Ethanol has a depressive effect on the central nervous system and because of its psychoactive effects, it is considered a drug. Ethanol has a complex mode of action and affects multiple systems in the brain, most notably it acts as an agonist to the GABA receptors. Death from ethanol consumption is possible when blood alcohol level reaches 0.4%. A blood level of 0.5% or more is commonly fatal. Levels of even less than 0.1% can cause intoxication, with unconsciousness often occurring at 0.3-0.4 %. Ethanol is metabolized by the body as an energy-providing carbohydrate nutrient, as it metabolizes into acetyl CoA, an intermediate common with glucose metabolism, that can be used for energy in the citric acid cycle or for biosynthesis. Ethanol within the human body is converted into acetaldehyde by alcohol dehydrogenase and then into acetic acid by acetaldehyde dehydrogenase. The product of the first step of this breakdown, acetaldehyde, is more toxic than ethanol. Acetaldehyde is linked to most of the clinical effects of alcohol. It has been shown to increase the risk of developing cirrhosis of the liver,[77] multiple forms of cancer, and alcoholism. Industrially, ethanol is produced both as a petrochemical, through the hydration of ethylene, and biologically, by fermenting sugars with yeast. Small amounts of ethanol are endogenously produced by gut microflora through anaerobic fermentation. However most ethanol detected in biofluids and tissues likely comes from consumption of alcoholic beverages. Absolute ethanol or anhydrous alcohol generally refers to purified ethanol, containing no more than one percent water. Absolute alcohol is not intended for human consumption. It often contains trace amounts of toxic benzene (used to remove water by azeotropic distillation). Consumption of this form of ethanol can be fatal over a short time period. Generally absolute or pure ethanol is used as a solvent for lab and industrial settings where water will disrupt a desired reaction. Pure ethanol is classed as 200 proof in the USA and Canada, equivalent to 175 degrees proof in the UK system. For Abuse details see http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/alcohol |
  • COMMENTS: This Chemical is in the category of VOC and is found in Air near CSG Operations

    From Safe Work Australia and the Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) in Australia:

    Highly flammable liquid and vapour | | A Hazardous Substance that may be found in the Australian Workplace. Check with your employer or health and safety officer. Stay informed and become aware of the dangers that surround you. This chemical is included on the list of recognised hazardous chemicals from the Safe Work Australia - Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) that is based on the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)

    Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations are the basis for hazardous chemicals regulations in Commonwealth, State and Territory jurisdictions in Australia. Under the model WHS Regulations, manufacturers and importers of substances, mixtures and articles supplied for use in workplaces are required to determine whether they are hazardous to health and safety before supply. The model WHS Regulations mandate that the hazards of a chemical as determined by the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) must be included in safety data sheets and on labels. There are transitional arrangements in place for moving to the GHS-based system.

    The GHS Hazardous Chemical Information List contains chemicals classified by an authoritative source (such as the European Commission or NICNAS) in accordance with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (the GHS). This list contains the vast majority of chemicals currently in HSIS. This list and its detail are regularly updated by Work Safe Australia. The model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations require chemicals to be classified in accordance with the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). However transitional arrangements allow use of classification information in HSIS derived from the Approved Criteria until the 31 December 2016.
  • toxin chemical structure pubchem
  • FORMULA: C2H6O
  • DATA SOURCES: DATA SOURCES: ARTICLE 4 | T3DB | PubChem | IARC | OEHHA | Article-Colborn-2010 | FracFocus | EPA in USA | US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES | APPEA | Article-Colborn-Air | Flavornet | EAFUS | DPR | EPA USA - Pesticide Inerts | Safe Work Australia - Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) | Drugbank | USA FDA APPROVED DRUG PRODUCTS
  • LAST UPDATE: 28/04/2018

  Health Associations

Mostly focused on Health Implications of Long Term Exposure to this substance

  • SYMPTOMS: Symptoms and effects of overdose include nausea, vomiting, CNS depression, acute respiratory failure or death and with chronic use, severe health problems, such as liver and brain damage. At >0.14% blood alcohol levels there is decreased blood flow to the brain. At greater than 0.3% blood alcohol there is a marked degree of stupefaction and possible unconsciousness. At levels greater than 0.4% there is a risk of death. Acute consumption leading to blood alcohol levels greater than 0.5% is almost universally fatal. With chronic alcohol abuse, severe health problems, such as liver and brain damage can be present.
  • POSSIBLE HEALTH CONSEQUENCES: Acute: At 0.1% blood alcohol levels individuals experience CNS depression, nausea, possible vomiting, impaired cognition and impaired motor and sensory function. Accidents or injury can also occur due to the side effects of loss of coordination, slowed reaction time, sleepiness and impaired judgment. At >0.14% blood alcohol levels there is decreased blood flow to the brain. At greater than 0.3% blood alcohol there is a marked degree of stupefaction and possible unconsciousness. At levels greater than 0.4% there is a risk of death. Acute consumption leading to blood alcohol levels greater than 0.5% is almost universally fatal. Chronic: high levels of alcohol consumption are associated with an increased risk of alcoholism, malnutrition, chronic pancreatitis, alcoholic (fatty) liver disease, and cancer. Frequent drinking of alcoholic beverages has been shown to be a major contributing factor in cases of elevated blood levels of triglycerides. In addition, damage to the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system can occur from chronic alcohol abuse. The long-term use of alcohol is capable of damaging nearly every organ and system in the body. The developing adolescent brain is particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of alcohol. In addition, the developing fetal brain is also vulnerable, and fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) may result if pregnant mothers consume alcohol. The net effect of alcohol consumption on global human health is quite detrimental, with an estimated 3.8% of all global deaths and 4.6% of global disability-adjusted life-years attributable to alcohol. Ethanol is considered a teratogen (causing fetal alcohol syndrome) and a Group 1 carcinogen because of the carcinogenicity of acetaldehyde (a major metabolite of alcohol). | Ethanol is metabolized to acetaldehyde by three enzymes: 1. Alcohol dehydrogenase metabolized methanol to acetaldehyde, which is oxidized by acetaldehyde dehydrogenase to acetate. 2. Catalase metabolizes ethanol by utilizing H2O2 supplied by the actionhs of NADPH oxidase and xanthine oxidase. This normally accounts for more than 10% of ethanol metabolism. 3. CYP2E1, is the principal component of the hepatic microsomal ethanol oxidizing system, MEOS) (T10)
  • ACTION OF TOXIN: Alcohol binds to the GABA(A) receptors (delta subunit), NMDA receptors, Glycine receptors, Serotonin receptors, Acetylcholine receptors, L-channel calcium channels and GIRK channels. Ethanol acts in the central nervous system primarily by binding to the GABAA receptor, increasing the effects of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. Ethanol within the human body is converted into acetaldehyde by alcohol dehydrogenase. Acetaldehyde is linked to most of the clinical effects of alcohol. It has been shown to increase the risk of developing cirrhosis of the liver and multiple forms of cancer. During the metabolism of alcohol via the respective dehydrogenases, NAD (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is converted into reduced NAD. Normally, NAD is used to metabolise fats in the liver, and as such alcohol competes with these fats for the use of NAD. Prolonged exposure to alcohol means that fats accumulate in the liver, leading to the term 'fatty liver'. Continued consumption (such as in alcoholism) then leads to cell death in the hepatocytes as the fat stores reduce the function of the cell to the point of death. These cells are then replaced with scar tissue, leading to the condition called cirrhosis. | Ethanol binds to the ubiquitination site of CYP2E1. Ethanol binds to the enzyme and blocks access to the ubiquitination site by the ubiquitin conjugating system. The ubiquitin binding site is at the substrate binding site of the CYP2E1 enzyme, thus preventing ubiquitin from binding at that site. (A107)
  • TOXIN SITES OF ACTION IN CELL: "Cytoplasm", "Extracellular", "Peroxisome"
  • Additional Exposure Routes: Ethanol is used as a solvent in industry, in many household products and pharmaceuticals, and in intoxicating beverages. It is also used for therapeutic neurolysis of nerves or ganglia for the relief of intractable chronic pain in such conditions as inoperable cancer and trigeminal neuralgia (tic douloureux), in patients for whom neurosurgical procedures are contraindicated.
  • SEE MEDICATION SIDE EFFECTS

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  Exposure Routes

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