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11/03/2015

Methanol poisonings have increased since Finland joined the EU

400 people have died from methanol poisoning since Finland joined the EU according to Ilta-Sanomat (km-DNS-FI).

Finland applied for permission to restrict the sale of methanol products when the country joined the EU in 1994, but this was not granted by the European Commission. EU regulations allow the sale of products that contain methanol, such as windshield cleaner fluid. At the time the European Commission stated it could not believe that anyone would want to drink a product clearly marked as poisonous. More recently in 2012 we have witnessed mass poisonings in the Czech Republic, which resulted in a temporary ban for selling of beverages of alcohol content above 20% by volume.

The problem is now being discussed at DG Taxud, with roundtable discussions with stakeholders and Member State representatives on tackling illicit alcohol and better regulating denatured alcohol.

For more information please have a look at DG TAXUD Question and Answer fact-sheet

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/resources/documents/taxation/excise_duties/alcoholic_beverages/legislation/denaturing_questions-answers_en.pdf

Photo: Taken by Yves Meur (https://www.flickr.com/photos/71809535@N03/6543035433/)