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Glossary - Acetone Acetone - molecular formula (CH3)2CO

A clear colourless liquid with the formula (CH3)2CO (pictured at right) having a sweetish odour, and a flash point of 0°F.  Less dense than water, although vapours are heavier than air.

  • highly flammable
  • water soluble
  • exothermic reactions common when mixed with bases and metals


  • INHALATION: vapour irritating to eyes and mucous membranes; acts as an aesthetic in very high concentrations.
  • INGESTION: low order of toxicity but very irritating to mucous membranes.
  • SKIN: prolonged excessive contact causes defatting of the skin, possibly leading to dermatitis.
  • HIGHLY FLAMMABLE: will be easily ignited by heat, sparks or flames.

Vapours may form explosive mixtures with air.  Vapours may travel to source of ignition and flash back.  Most vapours are heavier than air.  They will spread along ground and collect in low or confined areas (sewers, basements, tanks).  Vapour explosion hazard indoors, outdoors or in sewers.  Runoff to sewer may create fire or explosion hazard.  Containers may explode when heated.  Many liquids are lighter than water.


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