Ink remover


Ink removers usually contain some form of alcohol, either ethanol (drinking alcohol), methanol (wood alcohol, which is extremely toxic), or isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol, which is also very toxic).

Poisonous Ingredient 

  • ethanol  
  • methanol  
  • isopropyl alcohol

Where Found 

  • ink removers  
  • liquid bleaches

Note: This list may not be all inclusive.


For ethanol:

  • stupor  
  • unconsciousness  
  • decreased respirations  
  • brain damage

For methanol and isopropyl alcohol:

  • body as a whole       o weakness       o leg cramps       o convulsions       o severe disturbance in blood pH leading to multi-organ failure  
  • kidneys       o renal failure  
  • respiratory       o rapid, shallow breathing       o stopped breathing (see breathing difficulties - first aid)  
  • eyes, ears, nose, and throat       o blurred vision       o blindness       o dilation of the pupils  
  • skin       o cyanosis (blue skin, lips, or fingernails)  
  • gastrointestinal       o nausea       o vomiting  
  • heart and blood vessels       o low blood pressure  
  • nervous system       o coma       o fatigue       o headache       o dizziness

Home Treatment 
DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING. If the product is on the skin, wash with lots of water. Seek emergency medical care immediately.

Before Calling Emergency 
Determine the following information:

  • the patient’s age, weight, and condition  
  • the name of the product (ingredients and strengths, if known)  
  • the time it was swallowed  
  • the amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number 
See Poison Control centers for telephone numbers and addresses. Take the container with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room 

Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:

  •     For swallowed poison       o Immediate hemodialysis may be required for survival       o Placement of a tube down the nose and into the stomach (a nasogastric tube, or an NG tube) to wash out the stomach       o Activated charcoal administration       o Endoscopy - the placement of a camera down the throat to see the extent of burns to the esophagus and the stomach       o Give IV fluids       o Admission to the hospital       o Give an antidote       o Treat the symptoms  
  • For inhaled poisons       o A breathing tube may need to be inserted       o Oxygen       o Admission to the hospital or to the intensive care unit       o Bronchoscopy (inserting a camera down the throat into the airway to evaluate the extent of burns to the airway and lungs)  
  • For skin exposure       o Irrigation (washing of the skin), perhaps every few hours for several days

Expectations (prognosis) 

Prognosis and recovery depend on the type of alcohol consumed and the time to treatment. Methanol and isopropyl alcohol are extremely toxic, and relatively low doses can lead to permanent organ damage or death.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Levon Ter-Markosyan, D.M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.