06-21-2010 02:35 AM
'In a dark but little-known chapter of U.S. history, the federal government ordered the poisoning of alcohol supplies to deter and punish those who sought to flout Prohibition-era bans.
Starting in 1906, the United States began requiring manufacturers of industrial ethanol to put the chemical through a process to distinguish it from the identical substance found in alcoholic beverages. After the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcohol was banned by the 18th Amendment and the government cracked down on smuggling operations, bootleggers turned to chemistry to keep their customers supplied. A simple process was used to extract toxic chemicals from the industrial alcohol used in paints, solvents, fuels and medicine, and this relatively clean alcohol was then used to make beverages. By the mid-1920s, an estimated 60 million gallons of industrial alcohol were being stolen per year.'
Read more: U.S. Government Poisoned its Own Citizens During Prohibition