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Question from SVE

Hi Debra,

Recently I figured out I was reacting to the ink in Pilot and Uniball pens with my usual antifreeze (ethylene glycol) symptoms. I eliminated all our pens from inside the house and I’m now using pencils. My biggest problem at present is not being able write a check.

I don’t think I’m reacting to the dry ink on our papers in the house and I don’t seem to have a problem with mail coming into the house either. We have a printer that takes ink containing no antifreeze.

With all the different inks in pens and printers using antifreeze as a solvent, I would think I would be reacting to them if traces of antifreeze remained.

Does antifreeze in pen and printer ink evaporate leaving the ink on the paper antifreeze free after it dries?

Do you have suggestions for non-toxic, antifreeze free ink pens that I could use for writing checks? What do you use, Debra? Thanks!

Debra’s Answer

I haven’t researched all the chemicals used in all pens.

I personally avoid all “permanent” marking pens and all ballpoint pens where the ink globs around the tip, as those clearly have strong odors.

My standard pen is Pilot Precise V5, which I have been using for years and haven’t ever had a problem with.

I would think once the ink dries there would be no residue of ethylene glycol left.

A number of years ago I decided I wanted to stop using disposable plastic pens and began to use fountain pens. There are also glass pens that pull the ink up into a spiral tip, which you dip into ink. Dipping inks come in several types which may have different ingredients.

You can also make your own ink, which would require a bit of research. Years ago when I visited historic Williamsburg, I bought a quill pen and a packet of black ink powder to mix with water. You can still buy this at Williamsburg Quill Pens & Ink.

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