THE deaths of two Tasmanian men are being linked to moonshine yesterday.
Tasmania Police is investigating if home-distilled liquor caused the deaths of a man, 54, on Monday and another man, 49, on Wednesday.
Police said the two men were at a gathering earlier this week with about 10 others near Scamander on the state's East Coast where moonshine appears to have been drunk.
Up to 30 litres of a milky white spirit were found in one of the dead man's homes along with a device used to distil alcohol, police said.
Police and health authorities are urging anyone, but particularly those in the Break O'Day municipality, to urgently seek medical help if they've drunk the alcohol.
George Town Inspector John King said his focus was finding out what happened and safety.
Police are now waiting for toxicology reports to be carried out on the men while analysis of the moonshine is under way.
In the meantime several public health warnings have been issued.
They warn home distilling is a risky proposal that can often have fatal consequences.
Acting Director of Public Health Dr Mark Veitch said home distillers could easily end up producing the "highly toxic" methanol in their moonshine.
"Methanol is a form of alcohol used in industrial and automotive industries and extremely harmful to human health," Dr Veitch said.
Public health officials yesterday were contacting local doctors to be on the alert for patients presenting with methanol poisoning.
Dr Scott McKeown, of Population Health, said even very small amounts of methanol could be dangerous.
Within a few hours methanol consumption can cause drowsiness, confusion and impaired co-ordination.
Following these alcohol- like effects, toxic symptoms can develop up to 72 hours after ingestion.
Coma, permanent brain damage, kidney failure, blindness and death are all possible consequences.
Inspector King said he believed it was an isolated incident.
"No doubt it occurs but I'm not aware of any significant [home distilling] and I'm also not aware of any deaths in relation to it here" Inspector King said.
"Ultimately we are trying to stress there's a possible link between this substance and these men's deaths, however, it's unconfirmed at this stage."
The coroner has sought to have the toxicology report completed as a matter of priority, he said.
Inspector King said there was no indication how strong the moonshine, which appeared to be highly unsophisticated, was.
Break O'Day Mayor Sarah Schmerl was shocked when learning about the deaths and urged residents who'd drunk moonshine to seek medical help.
She said she was aware of beer home brewing but had not heard of spirits being distilled in the area.
Five-litre distillers are legal to buy without a licence, but using them to distil spirits is banned in Australia.
The smaller stills are sold on the pretext of being used to make essential oils but can be found in home-brewing stores and online.
Anyone with any information that may assist police is asked to contact CrimeStoppers on 1800333000.