CAS Registry Number 67-64-1

What is it?

  • Acetone is an industrial chemical. It also occurs naturally in the environment.

How is it used?

  • Based on the most recent data, acetone is manufactured in Canada as a by-product of industrial processes. It is also imported into Canada.
  • In Canada, acetone is used in a variety of ways, including as an industrial and laboratory solvent, as a cleaner and degreaser, and in paints, dyes, adhesives and coatings. Globally, the largest uses of acetone are solvent uses and for the production of the chemicals methyl methacrylate and bisphenol A.
  • Small amounts of acetone may also be used in food, food packaging, pharmaceuticals and natural health products, veterinary drugs, cosmetics and pest control products.

Why is the Government of Canada assessing it?

  • Prior to the assessment, acetone was identified as a potential concern to human health.
  • However, acetone was not considered to be a priority for assessment of potential risks to the environment. Regardless, potential environmental effects were also evaluated in this screening assessment.

How is it released to the environment?

  • Acetone may be released through natural processes like forest fires or volcanoes. Living organisms also produce small amounts of the substance. Microorganisms, insects, plants and animals, including humans, all produce acetone, simply through the many complex biochemical reactions that occur within living organisms.
  • Acetone may be released to air through activities like chemical manufacturing, the use of solvents, oil and gas production, automobile exhaust emissions, tobacco smoke, wood burning, pulp and paper, burning plastics and off-gassing from waste disposal sites.
  • Acetone may be released to the aquatic environment primarily through wastewater discharges from industries and leaching from industrial and municipal waste disposal sites.

How are Canadians exposed to it?

  • In Canada, exposure of the general population to acetone can be expected to occur through air, including tobacco smoke. Acetone is also a naturally-occurring component in food.
  • Canadians may be exposed during the use of certain household and personal care products containing acetone.
  • However, the amount of acetone produced by the human body is much higher than the exposure from environmental media, food and products.

What are the results of the assessment?

  • The Government of Canada has conducted a science-based evaluation of acetone, called a screening assessment.
  • Screening assessments address the potential for harm to the general population of Canada and the environment.
  • Hazards related to chemicals used in the workplace should be classified accordingly under the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS).
  • Results of the final screening assessment indicate that although acetone may remain in the environment for a long time, it is not expected to accumulate in organisms.
  • Furthermore, the quantity of acetone that may be released to the environment is below the level expected to cause harm to organisms.
  • The Government of Canada has therefore concluded that acetone is not entering the environment at levels that constitute a danger to the environment.
  • The Government of Canada has also concluded that acetone is not harmful to human health at current levels of exposure.

What is the Government of Canada doing?

  • The final Screening Assessment on Acetone was published on September 13, 2014.
  • Based on the conclusion of the final screening assessment, the Government of Canada proposes that no further action be taken on acetone.

What can Canadians do?

  • The health risks associated with a chemical depend on the hazard (its potential to cause health effects) and the dose (the amount of chemical to which you are exposed). Acetone is not a concern for the environment or human health at current levels of exposure.
  • As a general precaution, Canadians are reminded when using any product to carefully follow any safety warnings and directions and to dispose of the products appropriately.
  • Tobacco smoke is also a source of acetone. Canadians are reminded that they should not smoke and should avoid second-hand smoke. For more information about how to quit smoking and how to protect your family from second-hand smoke, check out the Smoking and tobacco website or speak with a doctor.
  • Canadians who may be exposed to acetone in the workplace should consult with their employer and occupational health and safety representative about safe handling practices, applicable laws and requirements under the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS).

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