Bihar Hooch tragedy
- December 17, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Bihar Hooch tragedy
Context: The official death toll of bihar hooch tragedy has increased to 28.
- Alcohol prohibition is a state subject with each state having full control of alcohol legislation, state excise rates and the organization of production and sale of alcohol.
About Alcohol Making
- Alcoholic beverages are made by fermentation of sugary and starchy substances, followed by distillation to increase alcohol concentration.
- When heated, yeast reacts with sugar (from grain, fruits, sugarcane, etc.) to ferment and produce a mixture containing alcohol.
- However, as this process continues and the alcohol levels rise (with more of the sugar getting converted to alcohol), the conditions become toxic for the yeast itself, eventually ending the process of fermentation.
- Distillation is the process of physically separating the alcohol from the rest of the mixture using evaporation and condensation.
- Through this process alcohol is separated from the fermented mixture and far more potent alcoholic misture is derived.
- The active ingredient in them is ethyl alcohol or ethanol.
Ilicit liquor (Hooch):
- Any alcoholic beverage made under unlicensed conditions is called illicit liquor. Usually sub-standard raw material is used, often this is spiked with other chemicals.
- The term hooch is a popular slang for illicit liquor. The origin of the term hooch is said to come from the Hoochinoo Indians of Alaska.
What makes it poisonous?
- Hooch-makers also use this principle.
- However, there is an inherent risk associated with the crude methods of production that hooch-makers employ.
- The fermented mixture which is to be distilled contains more than just consumable alcohol (ethanol). It also contains methanol, a different form of alcohol which is highly toxic for human beings
- Under unregulated conditions, methanol or methyl alcohol can be produced with the desired ethanol.
- Sometimes, industrial methyl alcohol or denatured spirit (mixture of ethanol and methanol) is added by illicit brewers to save costs and in mistaken belief that it’ll increase potency.
- Methyl alcohol is extremely toxic — 10 ml can cause blindness and 30 ml can cause death within 10 to 30 hours. It is like ethyl alcohol in taste and smell.
- Ethyl alcohol and fomepizole are used as antidotes, inhibiting metabolizing of methyl alcohol so that it passes through urine.
- Advanced treatment requires haemodialysis to remove toxic substances from bloodstream.