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Can you suffer injuries from isopropyl alcohol exposure?

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2022 | Workplace Risks

If you work with chemicals at work, one that you probably come across regularly is isopropyl alcohol. It has many purposes from cleaning wounds to removing ink stains, so it’s a mainstay in many places of employment.

What many people don’t realize is that this chemical, while common, can cause workplace injuries. In fact, isopropyl alcohol is a hazardous substance that is known to cause injuries when inhaled, making skin contact or making contact with the eyes.

How can isopropyl alcohol affect you?

If you are exposed to large quantities of isopropyl alcohol, there is a risk that contact with the skin or eyes could lead to rashes, dryness, burning, redness and itching. By inhaling this chemical, you put yourself at risk of irritating your nose and throat.

While minor exposures aren’t likely to cause long-term issues, repeated exposures can cause:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness
  • A loss of coordination
  • Death

It’s known that isopropyl alcohol may affect the kidneys or liver. It is also extremely flammable and is a fire hazard.

What can you do to provide first aid if someone has been exposed to this chemical?

First aid for exposure of the eyes should include flushing the eyes out with water for at least 15 minutes. For skin contact, contaminated clothing should be removed. Soap and water should be used to cleanse the contaminated skin.

For inhalation, you need to remove the person from the exposure. Then, if the person’s breathing has stopped, you should begin rescue breathing. Start CPR if their heart has stopped.

For serious cases, it’s a good idea to contact poison control or to call 911 to get the person to a medical facility.

The acute health effects of exposure to isopropyl alcohol can include injuries that require emergency treatment. In the long-term, it’s also possible for the liver and kidneys to be affected, so medical testing may be necessary.

If you’ve been exposed to this chemical and have signs of injury, it’s important to seek medical support. Let your employer know that you are seeking care (if you’re able to do so), and keep in mind that you may be eligible for workers’ compensation.