‘Palcohol’ Powdered Alcohol Approval Was an Error
The federal government has rescinded its approval of Palcohol, or powdered alcohol, which has the ability to turn water into rum or vodka. This product had been granted approval April 8 by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), a division of the Treasury. However, a statement was issued by the TTB later in the month that said the label approval for Palcohol was issued in error.
The surrender of the label doesn’t mean that Palcohol isn’t approved. It only means that the label wasn’t approved. Lipsmark, the parent company of Palcohol, said in a statement that the discrepancy involves the amount of powder in the bag. Palcohol labels will be reissued and will have to be reapproved by the TTB. The hope of the creators of Palcohol is that this product will be ready to be marketed later this year.
The Dangers of Powdered Alcohol
Palcohol is freeze-dried alcohol in powdered form. It’s an easy and convenient way to take alcohol anywhere. Those in favor of the product feel that it would be an inexpensive alternative to high-priced mixed drinks and a way to sneak in alcohol wherever its use is discouraged. Mark Phillips, the founder of Palcohol, came up with the idea of powdered alcohol because he wanted to be able to enjoy an adult beverage after activities like biking and hiking without having to carry heavy bottles. A packet of Palcohol weighs only an ounce. Another advantage is that it can be carried in luggage without fear of bottles breaking.
Many people believe this new product may be a little bit too easy and too convenient. Health experts are voicing concern over the potentially dangerous consequences of misusing this substance. Even when someone isn’t intending to abuse Palcohol, the convenience of alcohol in small packets may lead to unintentional overconsumption. Palcohol may be more potent than people are expecting when they toss it into a glass of water. Chances are that the extreme convenience will lead to increased consumption of alcohol, which may in turn lead to increased drunk driving episodes or accidents.
Some of the greatest concerns experts are voicing involve the likelihood that Palcohol will be used by underage drinkers. Small packets make it easy for alcohol to get into the wrong hands, including teens and children. The wide variety of flavors are meant to be appealing, with names that sound as harmless as “lemon drop.” Since Palcohol is in powdered form, one of the biggest concerns is that some people may try to snort it. If powdered alcohol were to be snorted, it would be quickly absorbed through nasal passages and the result would be almost instantaneous intoxication; damage to nasal passages would also be likely.
The Palcohol website originally didn’t take these dangers seriously. At one time the makers tried to use humor when discussing a topic that is really very serious. Their site originally stated that it was possible to snort Palcohol and that you would get drunk almost instantly because the alcohol would be absorbed very quickly. It tried to be funny in saying that it wasn’t a good idea and that it would “mess you up.”
Now their website states that they have added volume to the powder so that it would take more than a half-cup of powder to get the same effect as a single drink up your nose.
Defenders of Palcohol insist that if used responsibly, the product is no more dangerous than liquid alcohol.
The Future of Palcohol
So how soon will Palcohol hit a market near you? The Palcohol website states that the makers expect it to be for sale this fall, but proposed labels for this product will need to clearly explain what is in each packet to help prevent misuse or abuse. The next step will be to re-submit labels to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.