Denatured Ethanol Questions Without Answers

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Chemical residuals are often left behind when ethanol extraction companies use denatured or specially denatured ethanol to extract CBD from hemp. Unlike food grade ethanol, denatured ethanol is initially much less expensive. However, denatured ethanol can carry a wide variety of chemical contaminants, even if they are removed. Chemical contaminants will remain present in the extract at some level.

The federal government has established maximum values for these chemicals and has called them “Chemical Residuals”. Based on many studies conducted on mice with the US tox program, the FDA and USP give guidelines on what levels of chemicals are “safe”-as long as they do not exceed maximum levels. These chemicals have been categorized into three categories based on risk. However, there are many unanswered questions.

Here are just three questions:

  1. What does repeated and chronic exposure to chemicals do to cognitive and emotional function?
  2. How do unnatural chemicals in your bloodstream accentuate undesirable conditions?
  3. How do these chemicals affect your endocrine system?

The reality is there are too many variables in the human body and studies on rat models don’t really address all of the possible unintended consequences.

Basically, the guidance by USP is a good way to rank the risk chemical harm, in the absence of specific knowledge. However, at some point, we are going to have to start getting away from a daily dose of chemicals known to be dangerous for human health.

Chemical manufacturing companies producing denatured ethanol have been pushing the narrative that their “products are safe for use as an extraction solvent” on the industry. They are basically arguing small amounts of chemical contaminants in your CBD are really no problem and safe.

The good news is CBD extracted with Supercritical CO2 does not carry these chemical contaminants. Make sure you shop for and use products extracted with CO2


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Dr. Thompson is a separations scientist, entrepreneur, and inventor. As a scientist, he has a strong technical background and industry experience in analytical instrumentation, in-vitro diagnostics, biotech, mining, and homeland security markets.

During his career, Dr. Thompson has earned a strong track record of helping companies set up hemp and botanical extraction and processing facilities.

Dr. Thompson has assisted numerous companies to attain their goals in hemp manufacturing, as well as market development, strategic marketing, and worldwide business-to-business alliance formation (including international markets).

Dr. Thompson has a track record of writing winning licenses and has implemented hundreds of start-up operations in Canada, Europe and throughout the US for various clients. Dr. Thompson received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry, Chemistry and a Doctor of Chemistry degree from the University of Minnesota.