If you work in a salon, one of the chemicals you may be around often is acetone. Acetone can be beneficial when used as a solvent, so it is normally used in nail salons to remove old nail polish and to prep nails for new color.
Acetone, as a solvent, can break down and dissolve many substances ranging from nail polish to varnish or paint. In fact, it’s naturally found in the body, too.
What’s the problem with acetone?
The problem with acetone in the workplace is that it poses a few health and safety risks if not handled correctly. Acetone is flammable, can be hazardous to a worker’s health and has a high reactivity level.
The physical health hazards that are caused by acetone include causing irritation of the hands, fingers, lungs, skin and eyes. Depending on the type of acetone that is being used, it may be more or less toxic. Acetone in its base form is low on the toxicity scale, so it’s unlikely to have long-term health effects when used normally. However, it could blind someone or cause painful rashes or scarring in some cases.
The risks that come from flammability and reactivity are issues as well. Acetone should never be used around flames and shouldn’t be combined with other combustible materials. It should not be combined with sulfur dichloride, nitric acid or hydrogen peroxide. Some of those can be found in a salon setting, so be sure to keep the chemicals apart if you have them in your workplace.
What should you do if you come into contact with acetone?
Fortunately, most contact is harmless. However, if you get acetone in your eyes or feel it burning your skin, you should seek medical attention right away. Flush the area with water until the emergency medical team arrives at your workplace, so that you can get as much of the chemical off of your body or out of your eyes as possible. If it has been ingested, contact the local poison control center and go to the hospital immediately. Though it does naturally occur in the body, acetone in high levels can be dangerous.