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Is ACSI inkjet ink toxic or otherwise hazardous?

General Information

The following information only applies to ACSI Inkjet Ink. It does not apply to inkjet ink from other companies, and it does not apply to toner or dye sublimation inks

ACSI Inkjet Ink is about as toxic as ordinary dish liquid. The dyes, pigments and solvents are intentionally chosen to be safe and non-carcinogenic. Many -- but not all -- of the chemicals used are food grade.

However, because surfactants must be added to the inks, some minor irritation can occur. And the possibility of an allergic reaction always exists -- as with any substance. See below for details and exceptions.

If you drink the ink

Most people will experience no ill effects or perhaps a mildly upset stomach and possible diarrhea from drinking a pint of the ink. Naturally, you should expect to see a colorful display as natural processes eliminate the dyes or pigments from the body.

If you drink the ink, you should drink additional water to dilute the irritation effects. Do not induce vomiting unless advised by a physician or poison control. (There is no particular advantage or disadvantage in inducing vomiting with our inks under most conditions.)

Allergic reactions are extremely rare, but anyone who drinks the ink should be watched for possible allergic reactions to the ink, including hives or difficulty breathing. If an allergic reaction occurs, seek proper medical treatment.

A personal note: My (then) 18-month-old son decided one day to drink the cyan ink from a syringe bottle and came to me with deep blue lips and tongue. I gave him a cup of lemonade and watched him for the next couple of hours. There were no adverse effects -- except for the blue spot on the wall where Andy had tried some artwork before his drink. -- Brian

If you get ink in your eyes

The greatest problem with the inks is that they will cause minor eye irritation if you get the ink into the eye.

In a few people, eye exposure may cause allergic reactions.

The general course of treatment is to rinse the eye with warm water for 5 minutes.

Allergic reactions are extremely rare, but anyone who's eye is exposed to the ink should be watched for possible allergic reactions to the ink, including swelling, hives or difficulty breathing. If an allergic reaction occurs, seek proper medical treatment.

If you get ink on your skin

There is little danger from getting ink on your skin, except for the possible allergic reaction.

Wash the skin with soap and water. You may want to use Ink-Be-Gone hand cleaner or a waterless hand cleaner.

Allergic reactions are extremely rare, but anyone who's skin is exposed to the ink should be watched for possible allergic reactions to the ink, including itching, swelling, hives or difficulty breathing. If an allergic reaction occurs, seek proper medical treatment.

Another personal note: My 15-year-old daughter Hollie was showing her friend Lori around our new warehouse during Lori's first day on the job. Ten minutes later, I went out to check on them and discoverd that a couple of drops of cyan ink had dropped on one of the girl's hands. Teenagers! By the time I arrived, they had wiped the ink on each other's arms and looked like Smurfs! Once again, after 15 minutes cleanup, there were no ill effects. -- Brian

If you inhale vapors from the ink

Under normal conditions, there are no significant vapors to worry about. The inks are water based. The ink does not have petroleum solvents and only a couple of the inks have as much as 5% alcohol content.

It is possible that some vapors might be created during a very hot fire. Any vapors which might be created will not be toxic, but may cause irritation to sensitive people.

If you think that you may have inhaled vapors from the ink, get fresh air immediately and inhale slowly and deeply.

If you are allergic to the ink

Allergic reactions are extremely rare, but anyone who's exposed to the ink should be watched for possible allergic reactions to the ink, including redness, itching, swelling, hives or difficulty breathing, If an allergic reaction occurs, seek proper medical treatment.

What is the ink made from?

  • The key ingredient used in the inks is water. A couple of the inks also use less than 5% isopropal alcohol. Petroleum solvents are not used as major ingredients.
  • Various dyes and pigments are used as colorants. Other than causing stains and creating interesting color displays during elimination, these colorants are nearly ignored by the body in normal exposures.
  • Various surfactants (soap-like substances) are used to vary the viscosity and surface tension of the inks. Most of these surfactants will cause reactions similar to those caused by most soaps, such as mild stomach irritation and diarrhea, and eye irritation.
  • Because of the requirements of the printers, some inks are moderately acidic. For example, the inks used in the HP Type 10 cartridge are about as acidic as vinegar.

MSDS and TSCA Sheets

Material Safety Data Sheets and Toxic Substances Control Act Sheets are available from ACSI during normal business hours.

Other Hazard Issues

Fire and Explosion

Inkjet inks supplied by ACSI are all safe for air transportation and have ignition points in excess of 350 degrees. Since the inks are water based, contain no significant petroleum solvents, and only occasionally have alcohol (in less than 5% concentration), it is very difficult to get these inks to burn.

Carcinogens

ACSI Inkjet inks do not use substances that have been determined to be carcinogenic. This is intentional and a requirement which our chemist uses when developing inks.

Exceptions

Dye Sublimation Inks

Please contact us if you need information on these discontinued inks.

Toner

Please contact us if you need information on these products.

What's this? Copyright 1999 by Brian L. Boley.

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