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Old 10-27-2011, 11:37 AM
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SirRaph SirRaph is offline
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Default Acetone: Dangerous or Not?

As much as we dyers all use Acetone, I wanted to share a bit of information.

Sources:
Wikipedia
ScienceLab.com

What is Acetone?
Acetone is the organic compound with the formula (CH3)2CO, a colorless, mobile, flammable liquid, the simplest example of the ketones.
Acetone is naturally produced and disposed of in the human body as a result of normal metabolic processes. It is normally present in blood and urine. Diabetic people produce it in larger amounts.

Dangers of Acetone

Toxicology
Acetone is believed to exhibit only slight toxicity in normal use, and there is no strong evidence of chronic health effects if basic precautions are followed.
At very high vapor concentrations, acetone is irritating and, like many other solvents, may depress the central nervous system. It is also a severe irritant on contact with eyes, and a potential pulmonary aspiration risk. In one documented case, ingestion of a substantial amount of acetone led to systemic toxicity, although the patient eventually fully recovered.


The EPA removed acetone from the list of “toxic chemicals” maintained under Section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). In making that decision, EPA conducted an extensive review of the available toxicity data on acetone and found that acetone "exhibits acute toxicity only at levels that greatly exceed releases and resultant exposures", and further that acetone "exhibits low toxicity in chronic studies".

Genotoxicity. Acetone has been tested in more than two dozen in vitro and in vivo assays. These studies indicate that acetone is not genotoxic.

Carcinogenicity. EPA in 1995 concluded, "There is currently no evidence to suggest a concern for carcinogenicity". (EPCRA Review, described in Section 3.3). NTP scientists have recommended against chronic toxicity/carcinogenicity testing of acetone because "the prechronic studies only demonstrated a very mild toxic response at very high doses in rodents".

Neurotoxicity and Developmental Neurotoxicity. The neurotoxic potential of both acetone and isopropanol, the metabolic precursor of acetone, have been extensively studied. These studies demonstrate that although exposure to high doses of acetone may cause transient central nervous system effects, acetone is not a neurotoxicant. A guideline developmental neurotoxicity study has been conducted with isopropanol, and no developmental neurotoxic effects were identified, even at the highest dose tested.

Acetone on the Skin:
Acetone is a skin irritant. Wear long gloves when handling it. Latex gloves will dissolve when exposed to Acetone. Neoprene and Nitrile gloves have both worked for me in the past. Avoid using the disposable versions of either, as they seem less resistant than the thicker, dishwashing-style gloves, (you'll also save on cost long-term.)

In case of contact, immediately flush skin with plenty of water. Cover the irritated skin with an emollient. Remove contaminated clothing and shoes. Cold water may be used.Wash clothing before reuse. Thoroughly clean shoes before reuse. Get medical attention.

In case of serious contact, wash with a disinfectant soap and cover the contaminated skin with an anti-bacterial cream. Seek medical attention.

Acetone in the eyes, mouth, etc.
Don't let it happen.

In case of contact with eyes: Check for and remove any contact lenses. Immediately flush eyes with running water for at least 15 minutes, keeping eyelids open. Cold water may be used. Get medical attention.

Inhalation of Acetone
Acetone has shown to consume/dissipate oxygen from the air and water it occupies. As an irritant, it's not a good idea to expose it to your pink, fleshy lungs, either. Avoid breathing it for extended period, and always make sure the areas you use it in is well-ventilated.

FLAMMABILITY
Acetone is highly flammable in its liquid state, with a flash point of 869 Fahrenheit. When exposed to open flame, IT WILL IGNITE.

It is also flammable once evaporated, when in high enough concentration. It will remain flammable even after dispersing into the air and traveling. In other words, in high enough concentration, Acetone will evaporate, blow a trail to an open flame, combust, and trail back to its source!!!

IN CASE OF FIRE:
Acetone is soluble or dispersed in water. SMALL FIRE: Use DRY chemical powder. LARGE FIRE: Use alcohol foam, water spray or fog.
So keep some water on hand.

Acetone is horrifically dangerous once oxidized. From the research I've done (in the last 10 minutes...) it doesn't oxidize in the way we think of iron rusting. But exposure to hydrogen peroxide creates acetone peroxide as a byproduct. Acetone Peroxide is 10 times as sensitive to friction and shock as Nitroglycerin.
Yeah. So don't mess with that.


In other words:
  • Wear gloves that are rated well for Acetone (check the back of the box)
  • Use only in ventilated areas
  • Do not use near open flame (smokers beware!)
  • Keep water on hand in case of combustion

Happy (and Safe) Dying!
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  #2  
Old 10-27-2011, 12:09 PM
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Dsplayname Dsplayname is offline
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I've worked with acetone in an industrial setting for years before using it in disc dyeing at home. It's not really a big deal, unless you're an idiot.
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Old 10-27-2011, 12:22 PM
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Dan Howard Dan Howard is offline
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Interesting read SirRaph. I'll continue to use it outside only, and when I'm painting with it I have a fan out there with me! I just hate those fumes!
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Old 10-27-2011, 04:01 PM
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BigBadBid BigBadBid is offline
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Fumes are bad, well most fumes... Some are kinda fun...

Acetone is not nice. It can do all kinds of things if you are not careful with it (including melting millenium standard plastic...) but like dsplayname said, it wont be the acetones fault...
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Old 10-27-2011, 04:15 PM
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Clempson13 Clempson13 is offline
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this all seems like common sense to me when using a flammable fluid with a low flash point.
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Old 10-27-2011, 04:43 PM
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Dsplayname Dsplayname is offline
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Drinking too much acetone may cause ulcers.
I don't see a point in applying anti-bacterial cream after getting acetone on your skin. It dries out your skin, so moisturizing is good, but the acetone itself will sterilize against infections.
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Old 10-27-2011, 06:54 PM
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agent_peebody agent_peebody is offline
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meh, i licked a napkin with some acetone on it on accident once. no effects.












yet.
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Old 10-27-2011, 07:08 PM
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JackintheBag JackintheBag is offline
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5 gallons of Acetone into 1,000,000 gallons of water makes it unsafe for human consumption. This is a nasty solvent, but be safe around it and its a wonderful tool, almost a magic liquid.
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Old 10-27-2011, 07:12 PM
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agent_peebody agent_peebody is offline
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i'm glad i just use Rit and water. you fancy people with your acetone better watch yer lungz.
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Old 10-27-2011, 07:24 PM
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I use acetone on a regular basis at work. Like any solvent you need to use caution, honestly nothing I have ever splashed into my eyes has hurt as bad as acetone. It's super fast evaporation will dry your skin out, put lotion on if it bothers you. If you have an allergic reaction? simple, stop using it, unless you are one of the few that makes your living by dyeing discs you have the option of walking away or using a different solvent. and it doesn't take much for people to say water is "unsafe" for human consumption so 5 gall poluting 1 million gallons seems like super over reaction. Dumping a can is not going to pollute a lake, besides it evaporates so quickly it would be out of the water extremely quickly. We routinely dump our solvents into a plastic lined pit for them to evaporate and not get into the water table as per EPA and a whole host of other regulations. It takes a day or 3 for it to be gone, and leaving only the solids behind.

"Acetone is horrifically dangerous once oxidized. From the research I've done (in the last 10 minutes...) it doesn't oxidize in the way we think of iron rusting. But exposure to hydrogen peroxide creates acetone peroxide as a byproduct. Acetone Peroxide is 10 times as sensitive to friction and shock as Nitroglycerin."

^^ I am so doing this next time I am bored (Which is thankfully never)
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