Background: Public health burden from hazardous and harmful use of alcohol warrants drastic action throughout the world. Although less alcohol related harm is anticipated in Islamic countries, unrecorded alcohol remains a considerable concern which needs intelligent and realistic policy options.
Methods: In a descriptive study, records of chemically analyzed samples of alcohol obtained from Mashhad and suburbs during one year (March 2013 to March 2014) was evaluated in terms of ethanol percentage, methanol percentage, volume and pH of alcohol and location of sample. Some items such as inorganic elements (including lead) were not included because there was no information about them in records.
Results: Of 877 reports of alcohol samples, more than 50% of them were obtained from Mashhad and 41.7% of them were from suburbs. 32.7% of reports were in spring, 24.8% in summer, 22.4% in autumn and 20.1% in winter. Mean (SD, Min-Max) of ethanol percentage was 30.04% (17.5, 0-98.4). In 4 cases, methanol was detected. Mean (SD, Min-Max) of methanol percentage was 23% (40.2, 4-95).
Conclusion: Future research should focus on collection of large representative samples along with more precise analysis to judge about a toxicological concern beyond ethanol in alcohol products. Educational programs might increase the awareness about the risks associated with ethanol and other additives in alcohol products.