Health advice on home-distilled spirits

Tasmania's Acting Director of Public Health, Dr Mark Veitch, today reminded the community of the health dangers of drinking home-distilled alcoholic spirits.

These spirits are known under a variety of names, including the common name of 'moonshine'.

Dr Veitch said home distillers when attempting to make alcohol can easily and unintentionally produce a product which contains highly toxic impurities including methanol.

"Methanol is a form of alcohol used in industrial and automotive industries and extremely harmful to human health," Dr Veitch said.

"Methanol poisoning can cause a number of symptoms including blindness, brain damage, kidney failure and death."

"Public health officials have today contacted general practitioners to be on the alert for patients presenting with similar symptoms."

This follows a public safety warning issued by Tasmania Police on 29 August 2013 relating to the deaths of two men on the East Coast.

"Tasmanians are urged, if drinking alcohol, to drink spirits purchased from commercial businesses as those products are regulated by public health legislation," Dr Veitch said.