Is Acetone Poisoning?
Acetone poisoning occurs
when there’s more acetone in your body than the liver can break down.
Acetone is a clear liquid that smells like nail polish remover.
When exposed to the air, it quickly evaporates and remains highly flammable. Acetone
is dangerous to use around an open flame. Hundreds of commonly used household
products contain acetone, including furniture polish, rubbing alcohol, and nail
of Acetone Poisoning
Every day, the body breaks down fats into organic molecules
called ketones. Ketones contain
acetone and travel through the bloodstream until your liver metabolizes them.
Acetone poisoning can occur when there’s an abnormally high amount of ketones.
This is a condition known as “ketoacidosis.”
Metabolic diseases, such as type 1 and type 2 diabetes, can result
in ketoacidosis if glucose levels aren’t properly managed. In cases of prolonged
starvation, the body’s carbohydrate stores are depleted and the body begins to
break down its stored fats into ketones. The liver cannot process such high
levels of ketones, and blood ketone levels grow dangerously high.
Acetone poisoning can have other causes, including:
- drinking rubbing alcohol for intoxication
- overexposure to specific paints in confined
- accidentally drinking cleaning solutions that
- drinking nail polish remover
Are the Symptoms of Acetone Poisoning?
Acetone poisoning is rare. The body is capable of breaking down
large amounts of acetone naturally. For overexposure to occur, you must
produce, inhale, or ingest very large amounts within a short period of time. Mild
acetone poisoning symptoms include:
- slurred speech
- lack of coordination
- a sweet taste in the mouth
Severe symptoms are very rare and include:
- low blood pressure
- deep stupor
Acetone poisoning can be life-threatening.
Is Acetone Poisoning Diagnosed?
Acetone poisoning has an unusual symptom that aids in diagnosis.
The ketones in your blood will cause your breath to have a fruity odor. It’s
difficult to test for acetone because of the amount naturally present in the
body. Your doctor will look for high levels of acetone and ketones and physical
symptoms to diagnose you. Your doctor can use a urine test to look for the
presence of ketones. Under normal circumstances, there are no ketones in your
urine. Your doctor can also give you a blood test to check your blood level of
ketones and get a toxicology screening to determine the presence of certain
Is the Treatment for Acetone Poisoning?
Giving oxygen is one way to treat acetone poisoning. The
concentration ratio of acetone in the blood to acetone in the alveoli (sacs) of
the lungs is 330. According to an article in the Western Journal of
Medicine, this means that you must breathe out 330 liters of air and replace
it with clean air to clear the acetone from one liter of blood. (The average
adult body contains 5 to 6 liters of blood.) This is an effective way to remove
acetone from your blood. However, clearing acetone through your lungs can take days
You shouldn’t induce vomiting if you’ve drunk large amounts of
acetone. Acetone is harmful to the skin in your mouth and the lining of your esophagus.
The common treatment is to pump your stomach. Your doctor can pump your stomach
by putting a tube down your throat and into your stomach. They then pump small
amounts of water or saline into your stomach and suck it back out until there’s
no more acetone.
Stomach pumping raises the risk of accidental aspiration
pneumonia, a condition in which the water is accidentally pumped into the lungs
instead of the stomach. A person can drown from the liquid filling their lungs.
Can I Prevent Acetone Poisoning?
If you have a metabolic disorder, such as diabetes, be sure to
follow your doctor’s instructions regarding diet, medication, and lifestyle. If
you notice changes in your symptoms, contact your doctor to discuss adjustments
to your regimen. This will keep internal sources of acetone under control.
Acetone from external sources can enter your body by accidentally
it in from products such as nail polish or paint thinner
it in your eyes
your skin to it
- drinking it
You can prevent acetone exposure by taking basic precautions:
- Keep spaces well ventilated when using products
with acetone. Wear a face mask if you’re using products with acetone and the
ventilation is poor.
- Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from
- Store acetone away from flames or heaters. It’s highly
- Keep children away from bottles of liquid
containing acetone at all times.