[meteorite-list] Acetone: be carefull (re: Alcohol denaturing agents)

From: Anita Westlake <libawc_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 10:32:50 2004
Message-ID: <005901c40aa7$db8a59f0$d1bd8caa_at_genlibad.library.emory.edu>

Acetone: isn't that fingernail polish remover? Yikes! I'd better start
taking off the polish outside or stop using it altogether.

-----Original Message-----
From: meteorite-list-admin_at_meteoritecentral.com
[mailto:meteorite-list-admin_at_meteoritecentral.com] On Behalf Of Marco
Sent: Saturday, March 13, 2004 5:59 AM
To: meteorite list
Subject: [meteorite-list] Acetone: be carefull (re: Alcohol denaturing

> Having done museum conservation, I would say acetone would be safe to
> meteorites.
> -- no smoking please --
> Nick

Apart from no smoking, be well aware that you should use a good air
ventilation system when using acetone. Most people don't realise, but
acetone (its fumes most notably) is very nasty stuff. While safe to
meteorites, it's definitely not safe to people.

I discovered this the hard way several years ago, when I was trying to
dissolve the glue between conjoined flint artifacts. They wouldn't come =
easily that day, so I started to soak the whole nodule in undiluted =
for a while. This was in an ordinary classroom stile of room, with a =
open but no ventilation system. I had a distinct headache when I =
but was not prepared for the rest to come. I went to some friends =
after work, and did not feel well. While with them, my headache reached
head-splitting dimensions, and then I started to show uncontroled muscle
convulsions, and stammering speech. I was transported to a doctor right
away, and while he examined me, I had distinct memory problems: I had to
think it over for almost half a minute before I was able to tell him my
birthdate for example. The doc's verdict, after consulting the poisening
data center in Utrecht was: acetone poisoning, a known effect of this =
Although the worst effects died down later that evening, I actually
maintained slight oncontroled musscle convulsions and tremble for almost =
days afterward. A doctor later explained to me why, and what the stuff =
When you inhale the fumes, the stuff heaps up in either your muscle =
or fat tissue (I have forgotten which one it was), and is only very =
released from it (that's why some effects lingered on for almost two =
And it is poisenous, in that it works on your central nerve system =
the uncontrolled musscle convulsions etc.). I was told that drinking a =
of milk helps preventing the worst problems, as this seems to bind the =
for more easy removal from your body.

Anyway: after this experience, I have never worked with acetone again
without a professional air ventilation system. And I strongly recommend
everybody to follow that same rule. I probably had bad luck in that I =
be somewhat oversensitive to the stuff, but still, it makes clear =
has more dangers apart from its highly inflammable character.

- Marco

Dr Marco Langbroek
Leiden, the Netherlands
52.15896 N, 4.48884 E (WGS 84)

e-mail: meteorites_at_dmsweb.org
website: http://home.wanadoo.nl/marco.langbroek
weblog: http://home.wanadoo.nl/marco.langbroek/iss_log.html

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Received on Mon 15 Mar 2004 11:09:12 AM PST

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