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polystyrene and acetone skin safe?


the guy
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when polystyrene is dissolved in acetone, is it safe to mould it with your hands without protection? or should rubber gloves or something be worn?

 

i know acetone is used as nail varnish remover and polystyrene is, well, polystyrene, but some people say it's not safe and others say it is so i'm just checking

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In Australia, acetone has been banned from nail polish removers because of it's toxicity. That being said, I use it on a regular basis in lab to clean glassware (though Leags with gloves). Your best bet I'd to go the safe routeand use gloves.

 

 

make sure you use vinly or latex gloves though. not nitrlie gloves

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make sure you use vinly or latex gloves though. not nitrlie gloves

Acetone P***es straight through most disposable gloves including vinyl, nitrile and latex.

Never take advice from someone who can't spell the things he's talking about.

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Acetone P***es straight through most disposable gloves including vinyl, nitrile and latex.

Never take advice from someone who can't spell the things he's talking about.

 

 

just because i get my l's and y's mixed up up doesn't mean i don't know what i am talking about!

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I was under the impression that nitrile stood up to acetone better than latex, but that if you have any thing beyond incidental contact you should be using butyl rubber.

The lab I worked in a year ago had a chart on the wall listing chemicals and the gloves that may be used with them; we used acetone all the time to clean equipment while wearing nitrile gloves, but IIRC the chart said that was a bad idea.

 

I still have hands, though.

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I was under the impression that nitrile stood up to acetone better than latex, but that if you have any thing beyond incidental contact you should be using butyl rubber.

 

 

 

I don't know about better, but they certainly that great depending on what quantities you're getting on your hands. Cleaning collection vials, I usually have to change gloves every 10 or 15 tube before it tears up and it doesn't take long for the glove to start expanding and acetone to start seeping through them. The lab I work in, which is a synthetic chemistry lab, only has nitrile gloves in stock; I suppose it's fine as long as you change gloves regularly and avoid getting it on your gloves as much as possible.

Edited by hypervalent_iodine
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In Australia, acetone has been banned from nail polish removers because of it's toxicity. That being said, I use it on a regular basis in lab to clean glassware (though Leags with gloves). Your best bet I'd to go the safe routeand use gloves.

 

 

What is the nature of its toxicity?

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I worked in a fiberglass pipe plant years ago and we regularly used acetone to clean various resins from our hands and tools. I never had a problem with it really. This glove selector lists natural latex and butyl as the best choice with neoprene next.

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surely if acetone was toxic then the EU would limit the use to main stream people and that the labels would have the pictogram on it? When i use acetone i do not experience any symptoms like dizziness and head aches... but when i use Ethyl aceate i get a terrible head ache for about 2 days! (Evil stuff that is) and Ethyl acetate is meant to be kinder to the skin that acetone as it is in acetone free nail varnish remover...

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First of all - safety really does come first. Don't ever take unnecessary risks. Always read the MSDS (material safety data sheet) of a material before using it. An MSDS of almost every material is available through Google.

 

On topic:

IIRC, acetone makes the skin more permeable to other chemicals. Acetone dissolves some of the lipids in your skin, and other chemicals can therefore enter your body easier.

So, as long as you work only with acetone (like when cleaning glassware), and you're certain you won't come into contact with chemicals that are skin permeable, and the exposure is short, you can work without gloves (although I wouldn't recommend it). I would still recommend the correct gloves. Mother nature put those skin fats there for a reason!

 

This MSDS (material safety data sheet) seems to agree: "Contact with skin may cause defatting".

 

Obviously, a more long-term exposure to acetone can lead to other kinds of toxicological effects.

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I always worry about solvent carrying some toxic solute through the skin barrier. That's why DMSO can be so dangerous, whatever is dissolved in it is also crossing the barrier. I don't know what solutes acetone might carry through the skin, but I'd rather not find out the hard way.

 

I use nitrile gloves for quick use of acetone, but I break out the butyl rubber if I'm going to be working with any significant quantity or doing something that is likely to get my hands covered.

 

Safety first! Because:

 

1) You don't want to die

 

2) If you are in the USA, then you would rather die than pay the OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] fines, which are quite steep.

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