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First Aid for Ink Remover Poisoning

Last updated Feb. 27, 2018

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Ink Remover Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake of any product containing the compound. The exposure may also occur following skin or eye contact.

What is Ink Remover Poisoning?

  • An ink remover is chemical substance that is used to remove ink stains from paper, clothing, and other fabrics
  • Ink Remover Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake of any product containing the compound. The exposure may also occur following skin or eye contact
  • The condition is diagnosed based upon the clinical history, combination of signs and symptoms, and additional tests (that may include, in some cases, radiological studies and laboratory tests)

Ink Remover Poisoning may be also referred as Ink Stain Remover Poisoning and Ink Remover Toxicity.

What are the Causes of Ink Remover Poisoning?

  • Ink Remover Poisoning is caused by the ingestion/swallowing of ink remover fluids. The exposure may be also due to skin or eye contact
  • This intake could be accidental, or in some cases intentional, to bring self-harm
  • There are several types of ink remover solvents. These may contain chemicals that are toxic in nature including methanol (methyl alcohol), ethanol (commonly known as drinking alcohol), and isopropyl alcohol (or rubbing alcohol)

Note: The compound can interact with other prescribed or non-prescribed medications in the body. Such interactions may enhance the therapeutic effects of other medications being taken, resulting in undesired side effects.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Ink Remover Poisoning?

The signs and symptoms of Ink Remover Poisoning can vary from one individual to another. It may be mild in some and severe in others. Several systems of the body, such as the digestive system, nervous system, vascular system, urinary system, skin and ENT may be affected.

The signs and symptoms of Ink Remover Poisoning may include:

  • Headache, fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Breathing difficulties (including absence of breathing)
  • Fluid or blood in lungs
  • Unable to walk properly, lack of coordination
  • Low response level
  • Bluish discoloration of skin, particularly on the lips and beneath the fingernails
  • Urinary difficulties (reduced urine output or no urine production)
  • Abdominal pain, which may be severe
  • Internal bleeding (affecting the GI system); blood in vomit
  • Increased heart-rate and heart rhythms
  • Reduced blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Muscle cramps, especially affecting the legs
  • Dilated pupils
  • Vision abnormalities and blurred vision or vision loss (partial or complete)
  • Change of pH value of blood resulting in severe symptoms and affecting multiple organs
  • Renal failure
  • Seizures
  • Collapse, loss of consciousness
  • Coma

The severe and damaging effects on the body, following ingestion of ink remover fluid is due to the presence of alcohol (methyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol) in the substance.

How is First Aid administered for Ink Remover Poisoning?

First Aid tips for Ink Remover Poisoning:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency help number immediately, for emergency assistance
  • Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or your local poison control center) for further instructions
  • Provide them with information such as the compound taken, quantity and time of ingestion, age, weight and general health status of affected individual
  • Confirm that the airways are protected; also, ensure breathing and the presence of pulse
  • Administer CPR, if necessary
  • Unless instructed by a healthcare professional, DO NOT induce vomiting in the affected individual
  • If eye exposure has occurred, then wash the eye thoroughly with copious amounts of water (for about 15 minutes)
  • Take individual to emergency room (ER) for further treatment
  • Always try to take the compound bottle/container to the ER

The emergency medical health professional might perform the following steps towards treating the condition:

  • Gastric lavage for elimination of drug from the stomach (irrigation using special solutions)
  • Medically manage symptoms, such as abnormal heart rate and seizures
  • Provide breathing support, if necessary
  • Administer activated charcoal to avoid absorbance of the substance in the body
  • Administer suitable medication to counter the effects of the substance
  • Administer fluids by an intravenous drip line
  • Wash skin and eyes repeatedly and thoroughly (irrigation), to eliminate any remaining hazardous compound
  • In case the kidneys are affected, urinary dialysis may be necessary

Who should administer First Aid for Ink Remover Poisoning?

First aid for Ink Remover Poisoning is administered by healthcare professionals.

  • The individual who is affected, or someone near, should call 911 for emergency assistance (or the local emergency number)
  • They should also call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow instructions

What is the Prognosis of Ink Remover Poisoning?

  • The prognosis of Ink Remover Poisoning is dependent on the amount of substance consumed, time between consumption and treatment, severity of the symptoms, as well as general health status of the patient
  • Severity of the poisoning, the toxic ingredient present in the ink remover solution, and timely medical assistance are the key prognostic indicators
  • Swallowing methanol can be extremely hazardous to one’s health. A small quantity of the substance can result in blindness and death. Also, permanent damage to the central nervous system may occur

In general, toxicities are common situations in the emergency departments. A majority of the cases are often not fatal, when appropriate treatment is given.

How can Ink Remover Poisoning be Prevented?

Ink Remover Poisoning can be prevented by:

  • Always following instructions for usage of any health or cosmetic products
  • Keeping cosmetics, medications, and other healthcare products out of reach of children in child-proof containers
  • Keeping any poisonous/hazardous chemicals and other materials out of children’s reach
  • Keep all poisons correctly labeled and in suitable storage locations
  • Being aware of basic first aid steps in case of an emergency (such as inadvertent poisoning)

What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?

  • Call 911 (or your local emergency number) for emergency assistance, if symptoms are life-threatening
  • Call Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow the recommend steps
  • It would be helpful if the following information is readily available:
    • Type, amount and time of consumption of the substance
    • Age and weight of the individual
    • And, the overall health status of the individual

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: July 9, 2017
Last updated: Feb. 27, 2018