Acetone (C3H6O) has a pH of 7, which means that the substance, on its own, is neither an acid nor a base. This pH value, which is about the same as pure water, shows that acetone is relatively neutral. The organic compound is also known by the IUPAC name of propanone.
The simplest ketone, acetone is a colorless liquid that is flammable and volatile. It is an important cleaner often used in laboratories, but can also be found in household products, such as paint thinner and nail polish remover. About a third of the acetone produced industrially worldwide is used as a solvent. A strong degreaser, it is also used to prepare metal for painting.
Metabolic processes produce small amounts of acetone in the human body. It can be found in urine and blood with a higher concentration in diabetics. Special diets that increase levels of human acetone production have been used to help prevent epileptic attacks in children caused by recalcitrant refractory epilepsy. Certain dietary patterns, such as lengthy fasting, can cause acetone to be formed in tissue and is termed ketosis. Uncontrollable ketosis, which can be caused by abnormal circumstances, such as alcoholism or unchecked diabetes, can lead to a serious and possibly fatal health condition. Produced during fermentation, acetone is also a byproduct in the distillery industry.