Seven people were declared dead and around 100 were hospitalized after exhibiting signs of alcohol poisoning in Laguna and Quezon provinces Sunday afternoon. All had reportedly ingested ‘lambanog’, an alcoholic beverage made from coconuts.
Aldwin Cejo of the Laguna Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said that reports of poisoning began around 4pm, as most symptoms include vomiting and stomach pain. Moreover, Antonio Aurello, Vice Mayor of Rizal, revealed that most of the victims were guests of a birthday party held in Barangay Pook.
It can be recalled that lambanog poisoning has long been existent over the years. Last year, there were 21 deaths related to alcohol poisoning. The Food and Drug Administration even issued a warning to brewers regarding methanol content in their products.
Methanol has been used as a common extender for ethanol. Moreover, various industries use methanol as antifreeze, solvent, and fuel. Furthermore, both ethanol and methanol can be concocted from the same fermentation process. However, the amount of methanol produced alongside ethanol may be relatively small to cause a symptom.
However, large doses of methanol can be lethal. Once the body metabolizes methanol, it produces formaldehyde and formic acid, both toxic compounds. Read more: methanol poisoning 101
The World Health Organization revealed that blood methanol concentrations above 500 ppm can be associated with severe toxicity. As a precautionary measure, it is advised to avoid consuming alcoholic beverages from unknown sources.