.::. Background Information .::.
       [ Permanent Markers  ¤  Sharpies  ¤  Removal  ¤  Fabrics/Materials  ¤  Solvents ¤  Conclusion ]

>> Sharpie Permanent Markers

Sharpies is a type of permanent marker manufactured by Sanford and are sold throughout the world. They are usually used to write a clear, distinct, non-smudging line on glossy surfaces. Sharpies, which are alcohol-based, have water resistant, quick drying, AP Certified non-toxic ink that makes them difficult to be removed and permanent on most surfaces. Therefore, Sharpies can be used in a multitude of projects. They are usually an office-worker’s second-best friend because they provide a strong and legible mark, and it is inexpensive. They are usually black, but recently, there have been coloured markers produced.

Topics:
Typical Uses
Composition of Sharpies
Health Impacts

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

Typical Uses:
Sharpies and other types of permanent markers, are great for all kinds of jobs, such as:

  • Marking outdoor signs
  • Addressing envelopes
  • Labelling freezer bags
  • Applying fake tattoos
  • Grading fruit
  • Marking CDs or DVDs
  • Projects
  • Signing Autographs
  • Graffiti
  • Image/poster design
  • Colour glass

{Back to top}

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

Composition of Sharpies:
The four main components (listed in Sharpie's Material Safety Data Sheet [MSDS]) in a Sharpie marker are:
  • Dyes
    • Gives the marker its colour
  • n-propanol, CH3CH2CH2OH
    • An isomer of rubbing alcohol that is usually used as a solvent in cosmetics and is naturally produced in small amounts during fermentation processes.
  • n-butanol, C4H10O
    • An alcohol used as a solvent during chemical and textile processes as well as a potential biofuel.
    • It can be created from a series of reaction of propene or it can be produced by fermenting bacteria biomass.
  • diacetone alcohol, C6H12O2
    • A liquid that is primarily a synthetic intermediate in preparation of other compounds.
    • It comes naturally from the perennial plant, Sleepy grass.

{Back to top}

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

Health Impacts 

There are no warning labels on Sharpie markers. However, they have the new AP (Approved Product) certification symbol of The Art & Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (ACMI). According to the organization:

 "The new AP (Approved Product) Seal, with or without Performance Certification, identifies art materials that are safe and that are certified in a toxicological evaluation by a medical expert to contain no materials in sufficient quantities to be toxic or injurious to humans, including children, or to cause acute or chronic health problems. This seal is currently replacing the previous non-toxic seals: CP (Certified Product), AP (Approved Product), and HL Health Label (Non-Toxic) over a 10-year phase-in period. Such products are certified by ACMI to be labeled in accordance with the chronic hazard labeling standard, ASTM D 4236, and the U. S. Labeling of Hazardous Art Materials Act (LHAMA)."

Sharpie's MSDS states that inhalation, skin and eye contact, and ingestion of its product is considered safe under normal use conditions. Even though they are non-toxic for normal uses, writing on skin or fingernails should be avoided. If written on skin, immediate health effects may not be visible but there is a chance that the solvents in a Sharpie marker can enter the bloodstream. It might take approximately an ounce or more to cause a lethal reaction.

Furthermore, some of Sharpie's industrial markers contains cresol and xylene. It is very harmful when high levels of cresol are breathed, ingested, or applied to the skin. As a result, kidney problems, burns, abdominal pains, and damage to the liver, blood and nervous system is probable. Even more hazardous is xylene. It is a colourless and flammable liquid used as a solvent in the printing, rubber, and leather industries. Several effects from exposure of high levels of xylene include irritation, difficulity breathing, delayed reaction time, stomach discomfort, and kidney, liver and lung problems. Hence, people should be aware of the substances found in a permanent marker.

{Back to top}