MEK Exposure and Safety Information
MEK is a natural component of many foods such as apple juice, beans, chicken and honey. MEK may also be found in soil and water near some hazardous waste sites. Other sources of potential exposure include tobacco smoke, and volatile releases from building materials and consumer products. It is also released into the air from car and truck exhausts.2
In 2005, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) removed MEK from the list of toxic air pollutants and concluded that “potential exposures to MEK emitted from industrial processes may not reasonably be anticipated to cause human health or environmental problems.”10
MiBK Exposure and Safety Information
Occupational exposure to MiBK may occur by inhalation or skin and eye contact.4 Workplace controls, such as enclosing operations and/or providing local exhaust ventilation at the site of chemical release, and wearing personal protective equipment can help reduce exposure to MiBK.11
Various government agencies, including the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have set occupational exposure limits for MIBK. OSHA has set the time weighted average exposure limit as 50 parts per million over an 8-hour work shift and concluded that this set exposure limit can protect workers from health effects due to occupational exposure.12
Consumer exposure to MiBK may occur by inhalation and skin contact while using consumer products containing this chemical. Current use in personal care products is very limited, and MIBK is considered safe for use in nail polish removers and as an alcohol denaturant in cosmetic products.13
MiBK may be released into the environment in effluent and emissions from its manufacture and use, in exhaust gas from vehicles, and from land disposal of waste that contains this compound.
MO and Isophorone Exposure and Safety Information
Short-term industrial or occupational exposure to MO can occur through inhalation, ingestion and skin and eye contact. Short-term exposure can irritate and burn the skin and eyes, irritate the nose, throat and lungs, and may cause headaches, sleepiness and loss of coordination.14
To prevent or minimize exposure to skin or eyes in occupational settings, workers should use appropriate personal protective equipment.
Additionally, OSHA and NIOSH have both set permissible workplace exposure limits for MO that facilities manufacturing the chemical are required to follow.15 OSHA has set a permissible exposure limit of 140 milligrams of isophorone per cubic meter of air (140 mg/m³) for an 8-hour workday in a 40-hour workweek.16
Major sources of airborne isophorone may occur in the printing and metal coating industries, as well as coal fired power plants. People who work with inks, paints, lacquers and adhesives that contain isophorone may be exposed to low levels of the chemical through inhalation.17 To help minimize exposure to skin or eyes, workers should use appropriate personal protective equipment.