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May 1994
Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health Concentrations (IDLH)

CAS number: 67-64-1

NIOSH REL: 250 ppm (590 mg/m3) TWA

Current OSHA PEL: 1,000 ppm (2,400 mg/m3) TWA

1989 OSHA PEL: 750 ppm (1,800 mg/m3) TWA, 1,000 ppm (2,400 mg/m3) STEL

1993-1994 ACGIH TLV: 750 ppm (1,780 mg/m3) TWA, 1,000 ppm (2,380 mg/m3) STEL

Description of substance: Colorless liquid with a fragrant, mint-like odor.

LEL: 2.5% (10% LEL, 2,500 ppm)

Original (SCP) IDLH: 20,000 ppm

Basis for original (SCP) IDLH: There is no evidence in the available toxicological data that acetone presents an IDLH hazard below the lower explosive limit (LEL) of 25,000 ppm. Because Patty [1963] reported that a 1.5-hour exposure to 20,256 ppm is narcotic for mice, 20,000 ppm has been chosen as the IDLH.

Existing short-term exposure: National Research Council [NRC 1984] guideline

Emergency Exposure Guidance Levels (EEGLs):
1-hour EEGL: 8,500 ppm
24-hour EEGL: 1,000 ppm


Lethal concentration data:

SpeciesReference(ppm)(ppm)TimeLC (CF)Value
MouseFlury and Wirth, 1933-----45,4551 hr56,818 ppm (1.25)5,682 ppm
RatPozzani et al. 195920,702-----8 hr51,755 ppm (2.5)5,176 ppm

Lethal dose data:

SpeciesReferenceRoute(Mg/kg)(mg/kg)Adjusted LDValue
RatFreeman and Hayes 1985oral5,800-----16,777 ppm1,678 ppm
MouseMolodykh et al. 1980oral3,000-----8,678 ppm868 ppm
RabbitWHO 1980oral5,340-----15,446 ppm1,545 ppm

Other animal data: RD50 (mouse), 77,516 ppm [Alarie 1981].

Human data: Volunteers experienced slight irritation at 300 ppm but 500 ppm was tolerated [Nelson et al. 1943]. Eye irritation, headache, lightheadedness, nasal irritation, and throat irritation were noted in workers exposed to concentrations considerably in excess of 1,000 ppm and perhaps as high as 6,500 ppm [Raleigh and McGee 1972]. No indications of toxicity were reported following exposures to 2,100 ppm for 8 hours/day [Haggard et al. 1944].

Revised IDLH: 2,500 ppm [LEL]

Basis for revised IDLH: Based on health considerations and acute inhalation toxicity data in humans [Haggard et al. 1944; Raleigh and McGee 1972] and animals [Flury and Wirth 1933; Pozzani et al. 1959], a value of about 5,000 ppm would have been appropriate for acetone. However, the revised IDLH for acetone is 2,500 ppm based strictly on safety considerations (i.e., being 10% of the lower explosive limit of 2.5%).


  1. Alarie Y [1981]. Dose-response analysis in animal studies: prediction of human responses. Environ Health Perspect 42:9-13.
  2. Flury F, Wirth W [1933]. Zur toxikologie der l”sungsmittel (Verschieden ester, aceton, methylalkohol). Arch Gewerbepath Gewerbehyg 5:1-90 (in German).
  3. Freeman JJ, Hayes EP [1985]. Acetone potentiation of acute acetonitrile toxicity in rats. J Toxicol Environ Health 15:609-621.
  4. Haggard HW, Greenberg LA, Turner Jmcc [1944]. The physiological principles governing the action of acetone together with determination of toxicity. J Ind Hyg Toxicol 26(5):133-151.
  5. Molodykh ZV, Buzykin BI, Kudrina MA, Sysoeva LP, Gazetdinova NG, Neklesova ID, Kitaev YP [1980]. Antimicrobial activity of some acyl halide arylhydrazones and carboxylic acid arylhydrazides. Pharm Chem J 14:162-169.
  6. Nelson K, Ege JF Jr, Ross M, Woodman LE, Silverman L [1943]. Sensory response to certain industrial solvent vapors. J Ind Hyg Toxicol 25(7):282-285.
  7. NRC [1984]. Emergency and continuous exposure limits for selected airborne contaminants. Vol. 1. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, Committee on Toxicology, Board on Toxicology and Environmental Health Hazards, Commission on Life Sciences, National Research Council, pp. 5-25.
  8. Patty FA, ed. [1963]. Industrial hygiene and toxicology. 2nd rev. ed. Vol. II. Toxicology. New York, NY: Interscience Publishers, Inc., p. 1788.
  9. Pozzani UC, Weil CS, Carpenter CP [1959]. The toxicological basis of threshold limit values: 5. The experimental inhalation of vapor mixtures by rats, with notes upon the relationship between single dose inhalation and single dose oral data. Am Ind Hyg Assoc J 20:364-369.
  10. Raleigh RL, McGee WA [1972]. Effects of short, high-concentration exposures to acetone as determined by observation in the work area. J Occup Med 14(8):607-610.
  11. WHO [1970]. Acetone: biological data. In: Toxicological evaluation of some solvents and certain other substances. Food and Agriculture Organization Nutrition Meetings Report Series 48A. Geneva, Switzerland: United Nations, World Health Organization, pp. 86-90.
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