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    "If you've been injured through no fault of your own you could be entitled to compensation. If you're unsure if you could claim, I recommend you call Accident Advice Helpline."

    Esther Rantzen

    Are whiteboard or permanent markers poisonous?

    While slips, trips and falls in the workplace are common accidents at work, have you ever considered that other factors, such as permanent markers, could have the potential to cause work-related illness or injury?

    Do you work each day with whiteboard or permanent markers? If so, are these marker pens poisonous? Can they damage your health?

    Permanent markers: A history of health concerns

    Up until the early 90s, if you were to use permanent markers you would have been told to do so sparingly, trying not to inhale the fumes, and always replace the lid once you have used the marker, but why?

    In years gone by these markers indeed contained the toxic chemicals toluene and xylene, which are both highly toxic solvents. In the last 20 years, however, whiteboard and permanent markers no longer contain these chemicals, them having been replaced with alcohol-based substances instead, ethanol.

    While toluene and xylene have been known to cause severe work-related illness, including nerve damage, the health and safety concerns surrounding ethanol is a particularly grey area.

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    Is ethanol in permanent markers toxic?

    Today, permanent markers and whiteboard pens are generally marked as non-toxic. While this is true of a fashion, it is also slightly misleading.

    Without a doubt, ethanol is an alcohol. Alcohol is toxic. Whiteboard and permanent markers are marked as non-toxic as it is believed that, when used in moderation, the amount of alcohol substance does not present as harmful.

    Unfortunately, however, there are some who work with permanent markers day in, day out and, without adequate guidance surrounding the use of such pens, they could indeed be a cause of work-related illness. 

    The effects of ethanol-based permanent markers

    The Health Protection Agency classifies ethanol toxic via inhalation, ingestion, skin and eye exposure. Inhalation and contact with the skin can cause the following symptoms:

    • Nose and throat irritation
    • Choking
    • Coughing
    • Burning skin
    • Stinging
    • Lachrymation

    Claiming compensation for work-related illness or injury

    If you have suffered a work-related illness or injury and you believe that your employer is at fault, Accident Advice Helpline could help you recover the compensation you are entitled to.

    No matter the nature of your accident at work, so long as it occurred with the last three years and you are able to provide evidence to suggest liability and medical harm, we will be able to help you determine if you have a case that is likely to be successful if pursued.

    For a free initial consultation, speak with one of our specialist advisors today via our freephone helpline number, 0800 689 0500.

    Date Published: April 6, 2016

    Author: Accident Advice


    Accident Advice Helpline (or AAH) is a trading style of Slater Gordon Solutions Legal Limited. Slater Gordon Solutions Legal Limited is a company registered in England and Wales with registration number 07931918, VAT 142 8192 16, registered office Dempster Building, Atlantic Way, Brunswick Business Park, Liverpool, L3 4UU and is an approved Alternative Business Structure authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

    Disclaimer: This website contains content contributed by third parties, therefore any opinions, comments or other information expressed on this site that do not relate to the business of AAHDL or its associated companies should be understood as neither being held or endorsed by this business.

    No-Win No-Fee: *Subject to insurance costs. Fee payable if case not pursued at client's request.