What Are the Dangers of Isopropyl?

Isopropyl, or rubbing alcohol, is a useful chemical, but it can also be a dangerous one. Isopropyl alcohol is used on its own as a sterilizer, astringent and solvent. It also appears in a variety of body care products including lotions, fragrance extracts, herbal extracts and hair color rinses. It is not particularly toxic, but it does have some serious risks if it is not used correctly.

Rubbing alcohol
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Isopropyl alcohol is extremely flammable. On its own, it can catch fire in the presence of sparks, heat or open flame. Its vapor is potentially explosive. Do not use isopropyl alcohol anywhere near high heat or an open fire source. Use only in a well-ventilated area to prevent the build-up of vapors.


Isopropyl rubbing alcohol can be very irritating to the eyes, skin and respiratory system. It can cause redness and burning if it gets in the eyes, and it causes coughing, dizziness, headache, drowsiness and sore throat if it is breathed in. Isopropyl alcohol can also irritate the skin, particularly after repeated uses. Seek medical attention if you experience any of these effects after using isopropyl alcohol.


Ingestion is one of the most severe rubbing alcohol dangers. Although it is rare, drinking isopropyl alcohol can lead to death. More often, it causes other symptoms such as abdominal pain, labored breathing. vomiting and even unconsciousness Ingesting isopropyl alcohol can also cause gastrointestinal bleeding, a failure of the circulatory system known as refractory hypotension, blindness and other serious symptoms.

Isaiah David

Isaiah David is a freelance writer and musician living in Portland, Ore. He has over five years experience as a professional writer and has been published on various online outlets. He holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.