Marker Ink (Permanent)

What is it?
Symptoms
First Aid
Prevention
 

Permanent markerWhat is permanent marker ink?

Permanent markers, including popular brands like Sharpie, contain ink that is made from the chemicals xylene, toluene and urethane resin. Permanent markers are safe when used as intended.

Intentionally breathing in the marker fumes can be harmful.

What happens if someone gets permanent marker ink in their mouth?

The person will be fine. Swallowing some ink may taste bad, and may also leave some coloring in the mouth or affect the color of the stool.

What happens if someone gets permanent marker ink in their eyes or on their skin?

The ink can be irritating to the eyes, because eyes are very sensitive. It may cause a burning feeling and itching in the eyes and may temporarily stain the eyes and surrounding skin.

Using markers on the skin can be mildly irritating. Soap and water often do not help remove the ink, but the ink will wear off over time.

What happens if someone breathes in permanent marker ink fumes?

Breathing in fumes from a permanent marker may cause a headache, upset stomach or dizziness.

If someone breathes in the fumes on purpose to get high (inhalant abuse) they can get very sick. They can have slurred speech, pass out and have an irregular heartbeat. Inhalant abuse can also make someone’s heart stop working and they can die. This is known as Sudden Sniffing Death, which can happen anytime someone abuses an inhalant.

What should I do if someone gets permanent marker ink in their mouth?

Give the person a drink of water and wipe out their mouth with a damp cloth if there is ink you can see. Call the poison center 1-800-222-1222, chat online or text POISON to 85511 if you have questions.

What should I do if someone gets permanent marker ink in their eyes?

Rinse the person’s eyes out right away using warm water for 15 minutes, and contact the poison center—call 1-800-222-1222, chat online or text POISON to 85511. The poison center can give you rinsing instructions and let you know what else to look for.

What should I do if someone has gotten permanent marker on their skin?

Gently wash the skin with soap and water, but try not to scrub too hard—this can be more irritating than the marker itself. The marker will fade over time. This can take 2-3 days.

What should I do if someone breathes in fumes from permanent marker ink?

If someone breathes in fumes while using permanent markers and has a headache or feels sick to their stomach, get them some fresh air—open the windows or go outside. Call the poison center 1-800-222-1222, chat online or text POISON to 85511 if you have questions. 

If someone is breathing in concentrated fumes on purpose to get high, be careful not to startle or frighten them. This can give them a rush of adrenaline, which can lead to Sudden Sniffing Death. Get the person to fresh air and call 1-800-222-1222, chat online or text POISON to 85511

If the person has passed out or is not breathing, call 911 right away.

How can I prevent poisonings from permanent markers?

  • Supervise children when they use of permanent markers.
  • Use permanent markers in a well-ventilated space.
  • Learn more about inhalant abuse and what to watch for in teens who may be abusing inhalants.

Last Updated: Tuesday October 4th 2016