Butanone (CAS 78-93-3) is also known as methyl ethyl ketone or MEK. It is a colourless, flammable liquid with a sweet acetone-like odour.

Butanone is used in paints, glues and finishes because it quickly evaporates in air and will dissolve in many substances. The major uses of butanone are:

  • solvent in application of protective coatings and adhesives
  • magnetic tape production
  • dewaxing of lubricating oils
  • extraction solvent in food processing
  • production of varnishes and glues
  • production of synthetic rubber
  • production of paraffin wax
  • industrial and automotive paint
  • leather cleaning
  • laboratory work
  • production of cleaning agents
  • manufacture of explosives and smokeless gun powders

This guide provides information for those registered medical practitioners engaged by a PCBU to carry out or supervise health monitoring for workers. This guidance should be read in conjunction with the following:

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