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Direct observations: clinical cases, poisoning incidents and other

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direct observations: clinical cases, poisoning incidents and other
Type of information:
other: Clinical case report
Adequacy of study:
supporting study
3 (not reliable)
Rationale for reliability incl. deficiencies:
other: Documentation insufficient for assessment. It was not possible to ascribe the effects solely to the action of butanone.
Reason / purpose:
reference to same study

Data source

Reference Type:
Study of poisoning and fire hazards of butanone and acetone
Smith R & Mayers MR
Bibliographic source:
Industrial Hygiene: 23, 174-176

Materials and methods

Study type:
poisoning incident
Endpoint addressed:
repeated dose toxicity: inhalation
Test guideline
no guideline required
Principles of method if other than guideline:
not applicable
GLP compliance:

Test material

Details on test material:
- Name of test material (as cited in study report): Butanone


Type of population:
- Number of subjects exposed: 2
- Sex: Female
- Age: Case 1: 18 years, Case 2: 19 years
Ethical approval:
not applicable
Route of exposure:
Reason of exposure:
intentional, occupational
Details on exposure:
Exposure to both butanone and acetone without exhaust ventilation of any kind. The exposure occurred in the process of waterproofing the seams of raincoats for the Army. Materials used for the purpose were two vinylite resins, one dissolved in butanone and the other in acetone. The compounds were applied with a brush to all seams in an operation known as brushing. Each coat received three brushings at intervals of two hours. In the first two acetone was the solvent: in the third, butanone.
The room in which the operation of brushing was carried on was approximately 30’ x 85’ with a 12’ ceiling. It was done at tables 10’ long with one or two brushers at each table. Each brusher had before her an open eight-ounce jar containing the compound she was using. There were 59 tables in the room altogether and 82 operators. After brushing, the coats were hung up to dry on clothes racks located between the tables. Two thousand coats were ordinarily in the room at one time.
Although there were windows on three sides of the room, in cool weather only a few were opened. Air tests disclosed concentrations of butanone ranging from 398 to 561 ppm and for acetone from 330 to 495 ppm. Since vapours of both solvents were present in the air at the same time the accumulated concentration of both together was in the vicinity of 1000 ppm.

Case 1: Physical examination, urine analysis, blood pressure and assessment of spinal tap fluid.

Case 2: Physical examination
Medical treatment:
Case 1: The girl was given 6 cc. of coramin intravenously within an hour of admission.

Case 2: No medical treatment was provided

Results and discussion

Clinical signs:
Case 1: The girl complained of gastric distress one morning in January while at work. Her tablemate also noticed that her eyes were watering. In the afternoon she felt worse and went to the rest room where she was found unconscious a short time later.An ambulance was called and she was taken to hospital about 4:30 pm. She was admitted in coma with a strong odour of acetone on her breath.

Case 2: The girl fainted while at work. The fainting was followed by a convulsion after which she regained consciousness.
Results of examinations:
Case 1: Urine was negative for diabetes. Physical examination was negative except for occasional twitching of the face and extremities and hyperactive reflexes, pulse 112. Temperature 98 °. BP 128/70. Spinal tap showed fluid under pressure - 190 m.m. mg.

Case 2: The physician found her mentally confused and complaining of headache. After an hours observation she was allowed to go home and two days later returned to work.
Effectivity of medical treatment:
Case 1: The girl responded immediately treatment. Her only complaint thereafter was severe headache. On the day after admission there were no objective signs. The headache subsided and she was discharged two days later.

Case 2: No medical treatment prescribed.

Applicant's summary and conclusion

The publication describes two case reports of acute poisoninig after exposure to butanone and acetone in a raincoat manufacture plant. Since both vapours were present in the room it was not possible to ascribe the effects solely to the action of one solvent or the other. Based on the chemical similarity of butanone to acetone it seems that the two are of approximately the same order of toxicity and that the same permissible limits for air concentration would be suitable for both. Experience indicates that concentrations of either in the region of 1000 ppm are too high.