Acetone has been extensively studied and is generally recognized to have low acute and chronic toxicity.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined acetone is safe for use as an indirect food additive in adhesives1 and food-contact coatings2 and is regarded as a Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) substance at certain concentrations.
Acetone has undergone a comprehensive review under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Voluntary Children’s Chemical Evaluation Program (VCCEP).3 The objective of VCCEP was to ensure that adequate toxicity and exposure information was available to assess potential risks to children. This VCCEP review of acetone included a hazard assessment, an exposure assessment and a risk characterization.
Acetone has undergone regulatory and scientific evaluations under the European Chemical Agency REACH program,4 the World Health Organization (WHO) International Programme on Chemical Safety,5 and EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) assessment program.6
In a draft screening assessment for health and environmental effects, Environment Canada7 identified no critical health effects from exposures expected to occur from occasional, intermittent use of certain products containing acetone.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets safe workplace exposure limits. Workplaces where acetone is used, such as nail salons,8 can keep exposure levels below safety levels by using proper ventilation and following manufacturer’s instructions.9
Hazards of acetone
Acetone is highly flammable but is generally recognized to have low acute and chronic toxicity. If inhaled, acetone could cause a sore throat or cough.