Nov 6, 2001: What is the toxicity when glass cleaner is ingested?

Glass cleaners usually contain isopropyl alcohol, glycol ethers, annomium hydroxide and water.  They do not contain methanol.

Isopropryl  alcohol will be discussed in more depth at a later date.  Ingestion of a large amount can cause gastritis with vomiting, CNS depression, and acetone formation (found in urine and blood).  Treatment is supportive with IV fluids to remove the acetone. Glycol ethers are not metabolized to ethylene glycol.   CNS depression  is unlikely to occur following ingestion by a toddler, but may occur following ingestion of  large amounts of glycol ether.

Toddlers usually  ingest small amounts of  household products  (bleach, ammonia, detergents or glass cleaners). Most of these products do not cause toxicity in small amounts.  Usually treatment is not necessary.  Parents frequently call the poison center about toddler ingestion of household products. Most of these toddlers are kept at home with appropriate follow-up calls.  If the ingestion is of suicidal intent, observation and possibly further evaluation may be required.

As always, if there are any questions, call the MTPC.

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Donna Seger