Acetone (C3H6O) is a colorless, volatile, flammable liquid. It is a naturally occurring organic compound, and is the simplest and smallest ketone. Acetone is widely used as a solvent in a range of industries, including pharmaceuticals, paints, adhesives, and cosmetics. It is also used as a cleaning agent and degreaser, as well as for removing nail polish.

Acetone is a major component of the automotive emissions of gasoline-powered vehicles. It is produced by the incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons, and its concentration in the atmosphere is increasing due to the increasing use of gasoline as a fuel. Acetone is a major air pollutant, and its presence in the atmosphere can lead to adverse health effects.

The metabolism of acetone is well understood, and it is rapidly metabolized in the liver. Acetone is broken down to produce acetate and water. This process is known as oxidation. Acetone is also metabolized by bacteria in the soil, where it is converted to carbon dioxide and water.

Acetone has been linked to a number of health problems. Inhalation of acetone vapor can cause irritation of the nose and throat, as well as dizziness, drowsiness, and headaches. Long-term exposure to acetone can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, as well as respiratory and cardiovascular effects. Acetone can also cause skin damage if it comes into contact with the skin.

Acetone is classified as a volatile organic compound (VOC) and is regulated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has set limits on the amount of acetone that can be released into the air. In addition, the EPA has set limits on the amount of acetone that can be released into water.

Overall, acetone is a widely used solvent with a variety of applications, but its use can have adverse health effects. It is important to take steps to limit the amount of acetone released into the environment.


Aldridge, J. (2006). Acetone: Toxicity and health effects. Environmental Health Perspectives, 114(4), 478-485.

Environmental Protection Agency. (2015). Volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Retrieved from

Fiala, E. S., & Fiala, J. (2013). Acetone: A review of toxicity and human exposure. Critical Reviews in Toxicology, 43(3), 247-267.

Liu, Y., & Batterman, S. (2013). Spatial and temporal patterns of volatile organic compound emissions from motor vehicles in the United States. Atmospheric Environment, 80, 537-546.

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