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What are the health hazards of acetone?

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Quick Answer

Acetone can cause irritation to the nose, throat and skin, according to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. If contact is made with the eyes, acetone can cause moderate to severe irritation. Acetone can harm the nervous system if inhaled at high doses, and severe exposure can lead to unconsciousness. Symptoms of acetone inhalation or ingestion may include headache, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness and confusion.

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What are the health hazards of acetone?
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Full Answer

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety explains that acetone is not a known carcinogen, nor is it believed to harm unborn children. It is not a reproductive hazard or a mutagen. Acetone is highly flammable and must be kept away from sources of ignition.

If a person exhibits symptoms of excessive acetone inhalation, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety advises moving her to fresh air immediately while a doctor or poison control center is contacted. Skin irritation stemming from acetone contact should be treated by removing contaminated clothing, shoes and leather goods. The site of irritation should be flushed gently with lukewarm water for at least five minutes.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety notes that eye contact with acetone is serious and needs to be treated immediately by flushing the eyes with lukewarm water for 15 to 20 minutes. Contact lens wearers should remove the lenses promptly. If a person ingests acetone, she should rinse her mouth with water and contact a doctor or poison control center if she is feeling unwell.

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