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  #11  
Old 02-18-2008, 06:30 AM
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Brantel Brantel is offline
 
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Bottom line is that both are hazardous in certain ways. Limit your exposure to both products anytime you can.
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  #12  
Old 02-18-2008, 06:43 AM
Larry D Larry D is offline
 
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Default Chemist answer

Acetone and MEK are both ketones. Acetone is dimethyl ketone and MEK is methyl ethyl ketone. If you read the MSDS sheets on almost anything it gives hazards. They set out the worst case possible. Look up ethanol, the alcohol in beer, wine, etc. It is hazardous to breathe or consume it.

I have used large quantities of acetone in my work as a chemist. It is relatively benign. I'm 65 and healthy. Use good ventilation, wear suitable gloves (it removes oils from the skin and that will cause the skin to crack), and be aware it is volatile and very flammable. MEK is almost the same but it has a lower vapor pressure and therefore doesn't evaporate as quickly. I use MEK for that reason. They are equally good as solvents.

Look up lacquer thinner. It has hazardous material components. I think MEK is better.

Just be careful!

Larry Dickinson
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  #13  
Old 02-18-2008, 07:56 AM
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Sam Buchanan Sam Buchanan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry D View Post
Acetone and MEK are both ketones. Acetone is dimethyl ketone and MEK is methyl ethyl ketone. If you read the MSDS sheets on almost anything it gives hazards. They set out the worst case possible. Look up ethanol, the alcohol in beer, wine, etc. It is hazardous to breathe or consume it.

I have used large quantities of acetone in my work as a chemist. It is relatively benign. I'm 65 and healthy. Use good ventilation, wear suitable gloves (it removes oils from the skin and that will cause the skin to crack), and be aware it is volatile and very flammable. MEK is almost the same but it has a lower vapor pressure and therefore doesn't evaporate as quickly. I use MEK for that reason. They are equally good as solvents.

Look up lacquer thinner. It has hazardous material components. I think MEK is better.

Just be careful!

Larry Dickinson
Larry, thanks for your comments. I've stopped replying to posts that say MEK will kill on contact because it seems a lot of folks think that anything that smells as bad as MEK must be BAD!

MEK can be purchased at building supply stores from the same shelf as acetone, mineral spirits, and lacquer thinner. Common sense is prudent when dealing with any solvent.
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  #14  
Old 02-18-2008, 10:46 AM
the_other_dougreeves the_other_dougreeves is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by az_gila View Post
Chris... good point....

I went to the MSDS and they both look equally bad...
MEK is worse from a health perspective. Acetone is worse from a flammability perspective.

TODR
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  #15  
Old 02-18-2008, 11:05 AM
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LettersFromFlyoverCountry LettersFromFlyoverCountry is offline
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Just curious: Is there anyone on this thread who DOESN'T use a respirator OR latex gloves when handling the hazarous substances?

All of the data sheets give details on how to use these substances properly. If people really are concerned about their effects, that suggests to me that people aren't properly protecting themselves in the first place. That, again it seems to me, is the first and safest step.
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  #16  
Old 02-18-2008, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Collins View Post
Just curious: Is there anyone on this thread who DOESN'T use a respirator OR latex gloves when handling the hazarous substances?

All of the data sheets give details on how to use these substances properly. If people really are concerned about their effects, that suggests to me that people aren't properly protecting themselves in the first place. That, again it seems to me, is the first and safest step.
Me!

I use a respirator and NITRILE gloves
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  #17  
Old 02-18-2008, 02:04 PM
the_other_dougreeves the_other_dougreeves is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airguy View Post
Me!

I use a respirator and NITRILE gloves
Smart man.

TODR
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  #18  
Old 02-19-2008, 12:39 AM
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BJohnson BJohnson is offline
 
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Default not Nitrile

Nitrile is a poor choice for both acetone and MEK. attached is a link for a recommended gloves chart. Butyl is preferred. There are others like silver shield gloves that offer very good resistance to permeation of the solvent through the glove, something a thin nitrile glove is poor at.

http://www.allsafetyproducts.biz/site/323655/page/74172

Also, respirator cartridges can become ineffective rather quickly, so change those often as well.
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  #19  
Old 02-19-2008, 07:06 AM
rtry9a rtry9a is offline
 
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My 2 cents, from an old safety/environmental engineer- Unless you immerse your hands in liquid solvents for long periods (10+ minutes?), which we should not have to do very often, any "rubber" glove is probably ok as long as it is replaced when it expands and weakens, before breakthrough. These are not toxic chemicals we are working with, urethane paints and lacquer thinner excepted.

Silver shield gloves are impossible to work with anything tiny or that need some tactile feel- they are designed to support environmental remediation work inside of encapsulating suits, operating brooms and shovels.

Nitrile is probably a little better than butyl gloves with solvents, but, because we have to change gloves so often to keep contamination down, it probably does not matter much which type is used. Just do not allow excessive skin contact- to prevent irritation and dissolving oils out of your skin.

A respirator will not offer much protection unless you have installed new cartridge filters, of the correct type for the chemicals you are using. Most people don't have an assortment of chemical filters handy and assume that a dust shield offers protection against chemicals- they do not!
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  #20  
Old 02-19-2008, 07:33 AM
Msletten Msletten is offline
 
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Default Read the fine print...

Quote:
Originally Posted by az_gila View Post

MEK

Skin Contact:
Causes irritation to skin. Symptoms include redness, itching, and pain. May be absorbed through the skin with possible systemic effects.
Eye Contact:
Vapors are irritating to the eyes. Splashes can produce painful irritation and eye damage.


ACETONE

Skin Contact:
Irritating due to defatting action on skin. Causes redness, pain, drying and cracking of the skin.
Eye Contact:
Vapors are irritating to the eyes. Splashes may cause severe irritation, with stinging, tearing, redness and pain.
I believe the arguments against MEK are associated with its higher risk of injury due to skin contact. The potential injuries from Acetone are listed as local irritation/dryness. MEK lists "possible systemic effects." That means the damaging chemicals can be absorbed thru the skin and disperse throughout your body.

I wear gloves and other protective clothing when I use dangerous chemicals, but accidents DO happen. Since it does the job just as well with less risk in the event of an accident, I'll stick with Acetone.

Regards,

Mark
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