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This year 31 people have been treated for methanol poisoning, of these 15 have died
- Ministry of Health and AM Costa Rica illustrative photo -

Alert on new cleaning product poisoned with methanol

Published Tuesday, March 30, 2021

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Ministry of Health issued on Monday an alert about the sale of another alcohol-based cleaning brand contaminated with methanol.

Bottles with the brand name "Alcohol Multiuso Brisas del Valle" with an alcohol concentration of 80% are now on the list of alcoholic beverages and multipurpose alcohols poisoned with methanol.

This alcohol-based cleaning brand is presumed to be counterfeit versions of the original products that were registered by another company.

The alcohol is for the exclusive use of cleaning and healing minor wounds. However, the counterfeit version is commonly misused as a drink.

According to the statistics provided by the ministry, this year 31 people have been treated for methanol poisoning, of these 15 have died (12 men and 3 women) with an age range of 25 to 76.
Last year, 48 people died poisoned by drinking methanol-tainted liquor.

So far, there have been no reports of international tourists being affected by the wave of deaths and illnesses.

During this year, ministry officials have inspected 224 stores as part of the investigation into allegations of the sale of products contaminated with methanol. Officers have received 36 calls to 911 regarding the sale of these products.

Ministry agents have inspected 464 alcohol producing companies, where 1,164 alcohol bottles were seized. Plus 3,028 containers, and analyzed 451 bottles of alcoholic beverages and multi-purpose alcohols.

Several cases of smuggled liquor contaminated with methanol have been recorded. The ministry established a health alert on the following 13 brands:

• Guaro Chonete
• Guaro Cuerazo
• Guaro Sacheto
• Guaro Gran Apache
• Estrella Roja Aguardiente
• Guaro Montano
• Barσn Rojo Aguardiente
• Timbuka Aguardiente
• Molotov Aguardiente
• Guaro Fiesta Blanca
• Wash & CO alcohol
• BDS Distribuidora alcohol
• and now  Brisas del Valle alcohol 80%

Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol, was originally produced by the distillation of wood, hence the name “wood alcohol.” The substance is sometimes created accidentally by bootleggers trying to produce ethanol, the type of alcohol usually found in beer, wine, and liquor. Sometimes, methanol is added to ethanol for boosting its effect.

Because of its toxic properties, methanol was frequently used as a denaturant additive for ethanol manufactured for industrial uses to prevent the liquid from being used for drinking.

Symptoms of methanol poisoning can develop almost immediately after consumption. Symptoms include rapid drunkenness, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, severe abdominal pain, severe headache, and lack of coordination.

Specialists make the following recommendations:

• Do not drink or buy liquor of the aforementioned brands until the alert is lifted.

• The sale of these products is forbidden until the alert is lifted.

• Report the sales of any of the mentioned products to the local police or 911 line.

If any person has had liquor from the aforementioned brands and is presenting health issues as severe vomiting, agitation, disorientation, blindness, or any other, immediately call 911.

Health authorities ask for people to report any suspicion of these liquor brands on sale to the Judicial Investigation Organization confidential line 800-8000-645 or by calling the ministry at 2223-0333 or send complaints by email to

A.M. Costa Rica urges readers to share this alert with their contacts.

Have you seen any of these brands on sale in your community? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to

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