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Ink remover poisoning
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Ink remover poisoning

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Ink remover is a chemical used to get out ink stains. Ink remover poisoning occurs when someone swallows this substance.

This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

  • Drinking alcohol (ethanol)
  • Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol, which can be very poisonous if swallowed in large doses)
  • Wood alcohol (methanol, which is very poisonous)

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  • Poisonous Ingredient

    • Drinking alcohol (ethanol)
    • Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol, which can be very poisonous if swallowed in large doses)
    • Wood alcohol (methanol, which is very poisonous)
  • Where Found

    • Ink removers
    • Liquid bleaches

    Note: This list may not include all sources of ink removers.

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms of all alcohol poisoning may include:

    • Brain damage
    • Decreased breathing
    • Stupor
    • Unconsciousness

    Symptoms of methanol and isopropyl alcohol poisoning may include:

    Eyes, ears, nose, and throat:

    • Blindness
    • Blurred vision
    • Enlarged (dilated) pupils

    Gastrointestinal:

    • Abdominal pain
    • Nausea
    • Severe bleeding and vomiting blood (hemorrhage)
    • Vomiting

    Heart and blood:

    • Convulsions
    • Low blood pressure
    • Severe change in the level of acid in the blood (pH balance), which leads to the failure of many organs
    • Weakness

    Kidneys:

    • Kidney failure

    Lungs and airways:

    • Rapid, shallow breathing
    • Stopped breathing (see breathing difficulties - first aid)

    Muscles and bones:

    • Leg cramps

    Nervous system:

    • Coma (decreased level of consciousness and lack of responsiveness)
    • Dizziness
    • Fatigue
    • Headache

    Skin:

    • Blue skin, lips, or fingernails (cyanosis)
  • Home Care

    Get medical help right away. Do not make a person throw up unless told to do so by poison control or a health care professional.

    If the chemical is on the skin or in the eyes, flush with lots of water for at least 15 minutes.

  • Before Calling Emergency

    Determine the following information:

    • Person's age, weight, and condition
    • Name of the product (ingredients and strengths, if known)
    • Time it was swallowed
    • Amount swallowed
  • Poison Control What to Expect at the Emergency Room

    The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

    This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does not need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • The health care provider will measure and monitor your vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. You may receive:

    • Activated charcoal
    • Breathing support, including a tube through the mouth into the lungs, and a breathing machine (ventilator) 
    • Endoscopy -- camera down the throat to see burns in the esophagus and the stomach
    • Fluids through a vein (by IV)
    • Immediate kidney dialysis
    • Medicine (antidote) to reverse the effect of the poison
    • Tube through the mouth into the stomach to wash out the stomach (gastric lavage)
  • Outlook (Prognosis)

    How well you do depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment is received. The faster you get medical help, the better the chance for recovery.

    Methanol is the most dangerous and poisonous substance that can be an ingredient in ink remover. It often causes permanent blindness.

Related Information

     

References

Jacobsen D, Hovda KE. Methanol, ethylene glycol, and other toxic alcohols. In: Shannon MW, Borron SW, Burns MJ, eds. Haddad and Winchester's Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2007:chap 32.

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Review Date: 1/26/2014  

Reviewed By: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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