Methyl Isobutyl Ketone
Environmental Health Criteria No 117
World Health Organization
ISBN-13    9789241571173 ISBN-10    9241571179
Order Number    11600117   
Price    CHF    19.00 / US$    22.80 Developing countries:    CHF    19.00
English     1990        72   pages
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Evaluates risks to human health and the environment posed by the widespread production and use of methyl isobutyl ketone as a solvent, with major applications in the production of lacquers and paint solvents, including car and industrial spray paints. Methyl isobutyl ketone also occurs naturally in food, is a permitted flavouring agent, and is used in food contact packaging materials.
Sections concerned with the behaviour of methyl isobutyl ketone in the environment note its rapid evaporation into the atmosphere, rapid photo-transformation, ready biodegradation, and low potential for bioaccumulation. A review of data on metabolic pathways and toxicity to organisms concludes that production and use of this chemical pose no threat to wildlife or the environment, except in the case of accidental spills or inappropriate disposal of wastes.
The most extensive section reviews findings from a large number of studies, conducted in experimental animals and in vitro test systems, designed to test the toxicity of this chemical, including its actions as a skin and respiratory tract irritant, its effects on reproduction, and its embryotoxicity, teratogenicity, carcinogenicity, and mutagenicity. A review of studies conducted in human volunteers and in occupationally-exposed workers concludes that exposure to methyl isobutyl ketone can cause eye and respiratory irritation as well as symptoms of headache, nausea, and vertigo. The review found no evidence that exposure to this chemical causes permanent damage to the nervous system of workers or that its presence in the environment and in food poses any threat to the general population.