| Section8 = }} Acetone (also known as propanone, dimethyl ketone, 2-propanone, propan-2-one and β-ketopropane) is a colorless, mobile, flammable liquid. It is the simplest example of the ketones. Acetone is miscible with water, ethanol, ether, etc., and itself serves as an important solvent. The most familiar household uses of acetone are as the active ingredient in nail polish remover and paint thinner. Acetone is also used to make plastic, fibers, drugs, and other chemicals. In addition to being manufactured as a chemical, acetone is also found naturally in the environment, including in small amounts in the human body.
It is ideal for thinning fiberglass resin, cleaning fiberglass tools and dissolving two-part epoxies and superglue before hardening. A heavy-duty degreaser, it is useful in the preparation of metal prior to painting; it also thins polyester resins, vinyl and adhesives. It easily removes residues from glass and porcelain. In biological research contexts, buffers that contain acetone (such as citrate-buffered formalin) use the acetone to lyse cells for further experimentation.
Additionally, acetone is extremely effective when used as a cleaning agent when dealing with permanent markers.
In the laboratory, acetone is used as a polar aprotic solvent in a variety of organic reactions, such as SN2 reactions. The use of acetone solvent is also critical for the successful Jones oxidation. Technical grade acetone is inexpensive. Because of acetone's medium polarity, it dissolves a wide range of compounds. Thus, it is commonly loaded into squeeze bottles and used as a general solvent in rinsing laboratory glassware.
Though flammable itself, acetone is also used extensively for the safe transporting and storing of acetylene in the mining industry. Vessels containing a porous material are first filled with acetone followed by acetylene, which dissolves into the acetone. One liter of acetone can dissolve around 250 liters of acetylene..
It can be used as an artistic agent; when rubbed on the back of a laser print or photocopy placed face-down on another surface and burnished firmly, the toner of the image is allowed to transfer to the destination surface.
Acetone can be cooled with dry ice to -78C without freezing. This fact has caused acetone/dry ice baths to be used as organic solvents for reactions that must be carried out at low temperatures.
Acetone is fluorescent under ultraviolet light, and acetone vapor may be used as a fluorescent tracer in fluid flow experiments.
Small amounts of acetone are metabolically produced in the body, mainly from fat. In humans, fasting significantly increases its endogenous production (see ketosis). Acetone can be elevated in diabetes. Contamination of water, food (e.g. milk), or the air (acetone is volatile) can lead to chronic exposure to acetone. A number of acute poisoning cases have been described. Relatively speaking, acetone is not a very toxic compound; it can, however, damage the mucosa of the mouth and can irritate and damage skin. Accidental intake of large amounts of acetone may lead to unconsciousness and death.
The effects of long-term exposure to acetone are known mostly from animal studies. Kidney, liver, and nerve damage, increased birth defects, and lowered reproduction ability of males (only) occurred in animals exposed long-term. It is not known if these same effects would be exhibited in humans. Pregnant women should avoid contact with acetone and acetone fumes in order to avoid the possibility of birth defects, including brain damage.
Interestingly, acetone has been shown to have anticonvulsant effects in animal models of epilepsy, in the absence of toxicity, when administered in millimolar concentrations. It has been hypothesized that the high fat low carbohydrate ketogenic diet used clinically to control drug-resistant epilepsy in children works by elevating acetone in the brain.
CERCLA requires reporting a spill of 5000 lbs or more. Acetone is included in the 40CFR51.100 list as VOC exempt. http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/emon/vocs/vocproj/2voc_exempt_list.pdf