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June 20, 2018  |  Login

Use Water-based Markers

Protect your children from harmful toxins found in alcohol or solvent-based markers by choosing non-toxic, water-based markers

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Using water-based markers in the home and classroom will protect your child from inhaling the toxic fumes that alcohol and solvent-based markers give off.

Alcohol and solvent-based markers (such as permanent markers) can contain harmful chemicals such as xylene, toluene, and acetone. These chemicals are also known as VOCs—or volatile organic compounds. Studies have shown that VOCs can cause disorientation, nausea, eye, throat, or nose irritation, and even cancer in animals. Children are especially susceptible to air pollutants, so keep yours safe by supplying them with markers containing water-soluble ink that is non-toxic.

Try to find markers with a seal of approval from the Art and Creative Materials Institute (ACMI-AP) or the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)—this certifies that they have passed testing for dangerous amounts of toxins. They can be found in the stationary aisle of most craft-stores, office supply stores, and grocery stores. Water-based markers even have an extra advantage—easy clean-up!


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Did You Know?

Click below for more facts about this tip.




1. US EPA. [14 November 2007] Organic Gases (Volatile Organic Compounds-VOCs). Available from: [16 June 2008]

2. Green Seal Environmental Partners [24 May 2002]Green Seal’s Choose Green Report- Office Supplies. Available from: [16 June 2008]

3. US Consumer Product Safety Commission. [2 October 2007] Art and Craft Safety Guide. Available from: [16 June 2008]

4. National Center for Environmental Health. [undated] Healthy Housing Reference Manual: Indoor Air Pollutants and Toxic Materials. Available from: [16 June 2008]

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