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What is the clear liquid inside a Galileo Thermometer?

Asked by Mozart (489points) September 28th, 2010

Ok, so I stupidly knocked over the Galileo thermometer that was sitting on top of a shelf, and managed to cut myself a little with the glass too while I was picking up all the mess. A little later I was noticed that the room smelt a bit funny now, especially where the thermometer smashed. I always thought that is was only water in it but I guess not. I googled for a bit and a few links came up, Wikipedia saying that it’s just water, and a Yahoo Answers link claiming the liquid can cause ‘methanol poisoning’ or something (which was more than a little unnerving, I must say). Yahoo Answers isn’t known for it’s content though so I decided to ask you guys. Does anyone know what this stuff is?

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