Acetone is a chemical used in many household products. This article discusses poisoning from swallowing acetone-based products. Poisoning may also occur from breathing in fumes or absorbing it through the skin.
This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
Dimethyl formaldehyde poisoning; Dimethyl ketone poisoning; Nail polish remover poisoning
The poisonous ingredients include:
Acetone can be found in:
Other products may also contain acetone.
Below are symptoms of acetone poisoning or exposure in different parts of the body.
HEART AND BLOOD VESSELS (CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM)
STOMACH AND INTESTINES (GASTROINTESTINAL SYSTEM)
BREATHING (RESPIRATORY) SYSTEM
Seek medical help right away. Do NOT make a person throw up unless the poison control center or a health care provider tells you to.
Before Calling Emergency
Have this information ready:
Your local poison center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States. This hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.
This is a free and confidential service. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
What to Expect at the Emergency Room
Take the container that contains the acetone with you to the hospital, if possible.
The provider will measure and monitor the person's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated. The person may receive:
Accidentally drinking small amounts of acetone/nail polish remover is unlikely to harm you as an adult. However, even small amounts can be dangerous to your child, so it is important to keep this and all household chemicals in a safe place.
If the person survives past 48 hours, the chances for recovery are good.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) website. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service. Toxicological profile for acetone. www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp.asp?id=5&tid=1. Updated April 8, 2019. Accessed May 14, 2019.
Nelson ME. Toxic alcohols. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 141.
Review Date: 4/25/2019
Reviewed By: Jesse Borke, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, Attending Physician at FDR Medical Services/Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Buffalo, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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