EU Prohibits Methanol in Windscreen Washing Fluids

The EU Commission published a Regulation on the Limitation of Methanol in April. According to the regulation, windscreen washing or defrosting fluids containing a concentration equal to or greater than 0.6 % of methanol by weight may not be placed on the market after May 9, 2019. A corrigendum was subsequently published because the date on the original version was incorrect.

The trigger for the EU measure was a proposal from Poland in January 2015. The number of cases of methanol poisoning had increased there because windscreen washing fluid was being used as a cheap substitute for drinking alcohol. In the dossier created according to Annex XV, cases of poisoning were indicated in at least seven member states. Deaths occurred in two member states.

The association of methanol manufactures, The Methanol Institute (MI), expressed its disappointment in the measure. The CEO of the MI, Gregory Dolan, criticized the restriction as excessive, given that the problem of consuming these fluids is limited to a few countries. In addition, he states, consumers would ultimately find the law more expensive than the results of the misuse of methanol. Dolan also noted that the Website of the MI offers a range of safety measures related to the application and use of methanol. More details on the position of the MI can be found in its statement made at the beginning of May.

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