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Elements and Compounds

What is pure ethanol?

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May 12, 2009 5:37AM

Ethanol (also called ethyl alcohol) is the alcohol in beers, wines and other alcoholic beverages which causes psychoactive effects (makes you feel good, decreases inhibitions, etc.) Pure ethanol is dangerous and should only be used in a laboratory setting with adequate precautions. In addition, most sources of "pure" ethanol are "denatured" which means that poisons are added to keep people from drinking it. This is because the government doesn't tax ethanol when it's used for purposes other than consumption, so when it is sold for those purposes it must either be taxed as an alcoholic beverage, or denatured so no one can drink it. That way, party attendees can't buy "laboratory" alcohol for their mixed drinks and avoid paying the taxes on it.