The Dangers of Potassium Permanganate

Potassium permanganate (poe-TASS-ee-um purr-MANG-uh-nate) is used primarily as a disinfectant in water treatment plants and as a medication to protect the skin from germs and infections. Potassium permanganate granules are dissolved in water and applied to the skin. The use of potassium permanganate is also common in drinking water because it oxidises iron, manganese, and improves the taste and smell of the water.

Dangers to Skin

In all cases of exposure to potassium permanganate crystals, seek medical attention.

Potassium permanganate can be a severe skin irritant in crystal form, causing redness, burns, pain and dermatitis. Ensure you mix the potassium permanganate crystals with sterilised water according to your prescription to prevent possible skin irritation. If your skin is exposed to potassium permanganate crystals, rinse the area immediately, remove clothing and shoes if they were exposed and clean them thoroughly.

Effect on Eyes

Severe burning and redness will occur if potassium permanganate granules come into contact with your eyes. Per the Material Data Sheet for potassium permanganate crystals exposure to the eyes, use cool water to rinse the eyes for at least 15 minutes. Keep your face over a sink and lift your lower and upper eyelids gently to rinse.

Hazards of Inhalation

Inhaling the dust or crystals of potassium permanganate will cause severe burning in the mouth, throat, and lungs. Inhalation will cause difficult breathing and a cough. Seek immediate medical attention if you inhale the potassium permanganate crystals.


Do not swallow potassium permanganate crystals or liquid mix. Ingesting potassium permanganate in crystal form will burn the mouth and throat and cause diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain and possibly collapse and shock. Do not induce vomiting. Drink lots of water.

Problem Prescriptions

Stop using a liquid potassium permanganate prescription if browning, redness or burning of the skin occurs, and let your doctor know immediately.

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About the Author

Connie comes to Demand Studios with a diverse background including substance abuse counseling and spiritual guidance. Connie Owens began writing four years ago on a variety of topics that capture her interest. Her recent articles have been on health, animal care, psychology, and personal observations. Connie's articles have been featured on Associated Content and Helium, as well as her own website blogs.