The general public may be unfamiliar with what acetone is, especially if they’ve never had to remove resin or waxy buildup from glass or other hard surfaces. However, if they’ve ever used nail polish remover or stripped paint or varnish from old wood, they have used products containing this solvent. When used properly, acetone doesn’t pose a major risk to an individual’s health, but that isn’t to say it is not a hazardous material. Exposure to acetone through overuse or misuse can be dangerous to one’s health and safety.
Both the New Jersey Department of Health and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) require employees who use this chemical to be properly trained in its cleanup should a spill occur. In such cases, all personnel are to be removed from the area, all ignition sources must be eliminated and dirt or sand us to be used in order to absorb the liquid.
Acetone will eat through plastic and can ignite around open flames. There are also certain chemicals that can cause explosions when mixed with acetone, so proper storage and disposal is necessary to ensure safety.
Acetone is commonly used as a solvent in the following:
- Production of SBR latex
- Nail remover
- Paint stripper
- Varnish and stain remover
- Manufacture of polystyrene
- Degreaser and cleaning solvent
The Dangers of Acetone:
- Flammable – do not use around an open flame
- Eye, nose and throat irritant – proper eye and respiratory protection should be used when using to Acetone
- Skin irritant – prevent Acetone from coming into contact with the skin
- Exposure – exposure to high concentrations can cause vomiting, headaches and dizziness
While limited exposure to small quantities of acetone does not pose a significant health risk, the state of New Jersey recommends its proper storage, use and disposal as necessary. Acetone should always be stored and used in a well ventilated area, designated no-smoking area where there is no chance of flame or spark to ignite it.
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