California seems to have another battle to fight with the legalization of powdered alcohol, a product marketed by Lipsmark LLC. The state is desperately trying to invoke a ban on the sale of this product branded “Palcohol”, as it is thought to be potentially more dangerous than its liquid counterpart, especially for children, with the only instruction being to add water.
Though this battle within the United States may seem novel, the first known patent of powdered alcohol was filed in 1964. There is also further mention of its presence on the shelves and in the courtroom in the 1970s, according to the National Alcoholic Beverage Control Association (NABCA). The process of manufacturing this product is known as microencapsulation, which is commonly used in time-release technology, adhesives, etc. The production of powdered alcohol involves encasing the alcohol molecules with something absorbent, in this case, dextrin – a by-product of sugar.
November 2015 saw twenty-seven states prohibiting the sale of Palcohol, with varying stipulations. Critics fear that this product will be misused, and abused as it became more available and accessible to underage individuals. Being a powder, it would be much easier to conceal in illegal scenarios, such as on school premises. The negative effects may also be underestimated leading to overdose or dangerous combinations of powdered alcohol with caffeinated beverages or even with another alcoholic beverage in an effort to increase the potency. The fear of snorting is also a possibility.
As with any new product, the pros and cons must be adequately weighed. This is especially true in this instance with alcohol use disorders being so prevalent in the U.S.Back to Blog