Did you know that whiteboard markers have been around since the 1960s? The manufacturers have been able to make slight adjustments to the chemicals used in the ink so that it will not seep into whiteboards, although it is important to remember that the ink will be permanent on other surfaces. So, what sorts of chemicals can I find in my markers?
- SD Alcohol-40
Specially denatured (SD) alcohol-40 is actually a form of ethyl alcohol, also known as ethanol. This is the same type of alcohol that is used in alcoholic beverages and it can also be found in a range of other products, like cosmetics and household cleaners. When used in non-food products, the ethanol is denatured (which refers to the addition of a chemical) so that it doesn’t taste very nice and people don’t want to taste it.
Also known as isopropyl alcohol (IPA), this is a solvent chemical, which means that it can dissolve other substances and can be mixed with other solvents with ease. Isopropanol is actually found in a number of other household products, including cleaners and glue, and it is known for being highly flammable. Inhaling the fumes of whiteboard markers containing this chemical can cause all sorts of health issues.
These chemicals are generally derived from plants and will appear sticky or solid in their natural state. As the resin is alcohol-soluble, it will dissolve when it comes into contact with the other chemicals in the markers, allowing it to mix with the pigment and flow through the pen with ease. Once the resin is exposed to air, the alcohol evaporates and it begins to return to its natural state.
Whilst most of the chemicals found in whiteboard markers are not overly harmful, it is still recommended that you do not inhale the fumes or ingest the ink that they produce. Not only will you be left with a nasty taste in your mouth, you might find yourself victim to one of the more harmful chemicals contained in the marker, such as isopropanol, which can cause kidney and liver problems.