News: Powdered Alcohol Introduced to US Markets Amid Controversy

Photo Credit: Mady Burger

Staged photo of alcohol in powder form.

Just last month, Palcohol, a new powdered alcohol product was introduced to the US amid questions regarding the substance’s safety.

 

The initial substance began as ordinary liquid alcohol but then was whipped, solidified and then vaporized into a powdered form. A leaked, supposed draft version of the website indicated that Palcohol is 51% alcohol by weight and 10% by volume. The regulation is shaky and skepticism incredibly high. It was claimed that the product was developed with the help of scientists, but that certainly does not dispel any worry about the legitimacy or safety of using it.

 

The creator of Palcohol, Mark Phillips points to the potential uses of Palcohol: including for commercial, medical, aviation, manufacturing, and food applications. He claimed that as an active, outdoorsy person, he can appreciate its portability and pragmatism. In response to those calling for a ban on powdered alcohol, the Palcohol website stated, “That is the wrong approach. Palcohol should be approved, taxed and regulated just like liquid alcohol.”

 

In April, the federal government approved Palcohol but, according to TIME Magazine, is now claiming that this approval was an illegitimate ‘error’. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau granted Palcohol with an approval label but two weeks later had to rescind the decision. Palcohol is arguing that its approval was rescinded due to inaccurate measures and labeling rather than an unsafe substance. Regardless of the reasons, Palcohol could have huge effects on underage drinkers as well as consumers above the legal drinking age. It could make underage drinking and spiking drinks easier by packing alcohol into a more portable substance and even enable snorting the substance. Even in liquid form, people have attempted to snort alcohol, which is damaging to the nasal passages. Although Palcohol warns against the effects of snorting the powdered substance, there are no measures to prevent consumers from doing so.

 

Palcohol is aggressively fighting against the ban and citing criticism as ignorance. While the powder may have many beneficial applications, it still seems to be in an unstable state. Perhaps with more research and published results, powdered alcohol could be a feasible beverage in the future.