Just curious- how many of you wear respirators and rubber gloves while putting gas in your tanks? Do any of you work on your own cars? Come into contact with used motor oil? How about household cleaners? Drive down the freeway or just live in urban areas? I probably inhaled a years worth of sniffing burning stoves in the 2 or 3 miles I drove down the highway following a few cars behind this 1972 Chevy 4wd gross polluting pickup. I even had my windows up and the a/c on recirculate. The smell of raw gasoline inside my car was overwhelming.
I mean, with the amounts of chronic exposures to harmful chemicals we deal with in our day to day lives, it really seems to me that occasional contact with some form of stove fuel or another is a rather trivial matter. Just don't stiff the bottle or run the stove without adequate ventilation and quit worrying.
I grew up in a blue collar work environment. I was a mechanic for a while (both automotive and over the road trucks), eventually moving on to welding and fabricating. I've spent hours with my hand immersed in gasoline or diesel fuel as a teen (using it as a solvent to clean car parts, using gas was a bit stupid, I'll admit that, diesel is a lot safer) and breathed welding fumes for 10hrs a day for many years. For about the first 10yrs of my adult life my hands were permanently stained black from grease and grime. Only when I was on vacation for at least a week were my hands finally clean. This exposure to harmful chemicals is commonplace to anyone working in many blue collar trades. I've had a handful of jobs and no company I worked for did any more than the absolute minimum required by law to protect their workers. I'm now doing white collar work most of the time, and my exposure to chemicals is way reduced, but I still have to get my hands dirty when testing / building prototypes.
I like alcohol for these main reasons- #1) it's water soluble. If you have an accidental fire, it's easily doused with water, unlike white gas. #2) it evaporates clean w/o damaging gear or clothing if spilled in your pack, unlike white gas. #3) it's cheap. If you've got grade school arts and craft skills, in a couple of hours you can have a light, efficient, complete cooking kit for under $20 (assuming you have the tools on hand- push pin, hole punch, scissors, etc.) using a kmart or walmart grease pot, or an imusa mug. I don't have any experience with canister stoves. They just seem to expensive to justify the minor increase in convenience and safety. I admit knocking over a lit alky stove is a far more likely scenario than blowing up a fuel canister, which is one reason I stay away from unstable stoves in the first place. IMO, any setup where you balance your pot on top of a narrow stove is an accident waiting to happen.
Sorry for the rant- and the run on sentence in the first paragraph...