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Chemical Sampling Information (CSI)
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General Description

Synonyms: Methyl ethyl ketone; MEK; Ethyl methyl ketone; Methylethylketone; Methyl acetone

OSHA IMIS Code Number: 0430

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 78-93-3

NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: EL6475000

Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and 2012 Emergency Response Guidebook [4 MB PDF, 392 pages]: 1193 127; 1232 127

NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards - 2-Butanone: Physical description, chemical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Hazard Summary - 2-Butanone: Uses, sources and potential exposure, acute and chronic health hazard information, and more

Exposure Limits

Exposure Limit

Limit Values

HE Codes

Health Factors and Target Organs

OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) - General Industry
See 29 CFR 1910.1000 Table Z-1

200 ppm
(590 mg/m3) TWA

HE16

Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat

OSHA PEL - Construction Industry
See 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A

200 ppm
(590 mg/m3) TWA

HE16

Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat

OSHA PEL - Shipyard Employment
See 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards

200 ppm
(590 mg/m3) TWA

HE16

Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) (REL listed under ketones)

200 ppm
(590 mg/m3) TWA

300 ppm
(885 mg/m3) STEL

HE8

Narcosis (central nervous system depression)

HE16

Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV) (2001) (TLV listed under methyl ethyl ketone [MEK])

200 ppm
(590 mg/m3) TWA

300 ppm
(885 mg/m3) STEL

BEI

HE7

Central nervous system effects and peripheral neuropathy

HE16

Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat

CAL/OSHA PELs

200 ppm
(590 mg/m3) TWA

300 ppm
(885 mg/m3) STEL

HE7

Central nervous system effects and peripheral neuropathy

HE16

Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat

National Toxicology Program (NTP) carcinogenic classification: Not listed

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) carcinogenic classification: Not listed

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) carcinogenic classification: Data is inadequate for an assessment of human carcinogenic potential

EPA Inhalation Reference Concentration (RfC): 5 mg/m3

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Inhalation Minimal Risk Level (MRL): Not established

NIOSH Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentration (IDLH): 3,000 ppm

Notes on Other Potential Health Effects and Hazards

  1. 2-Butanone is highly flammable (NIOSH/IPCS 1998; Pohanish 2002).
  2. 2-Butanone is metabolized by reduction to 2-butanol or oxidation to 3-hydroxy-2-butanone, which is subsequently reduced to 2,3-butanediol. The presence of unchanged 2-butanone in urine is the suggested biological exposure index (BEI) because it is strongly correlated with levels in air (EPA 2003a, 2003b).
  3. Physiological differences between men and women, as well as differences due to sex hormone levels, can impact urinary concentrations of biomarkers of exposure for 2-butanone(Tomicic et al. 2011).

Date Last Revised: 09/06/2012

Literature Basis:

  • ACGIH: Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs) - Methyl Ethyl Ketone. 2001.
  • EPA: Integrated Risk Information System - Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) (CASRN 78-93-3). September 2003a.
  • EPA: Toxicological Review of Methyl Ethyl Ketone [1 MB PDF, 152 pages] (CAS No. 78-93-3). September 2003b.
  • NIOSH: Criteria for a Recommended Standard - Occupational Exposure to Ketones. 1978.
  • NIOSH: Occupational Safety and Health Guideline for 2-Butanone. 1988.
  • NIOSH/IPCS: International Chemical Safety Cards - Methyl ethyl ketone. March 1998.
  • Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Methyl ethyl ketone. In: Sittig's Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 2. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, pp. 1566-1568, 2002.
  • Tomicic, C, Berode, M, Oppliger, A, Castella, V, Leyvraz, F, Praz-Christinaz, SM, Danuser, B: Sex differences in urinary levels of several biological indicators of exposure - a human volunteer study. Toxicol Lett. 202(3):218-25, May 10, 2011.

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:

  • sampling media: Anasorb CMS
    analytical solvent: (99:1) Carbon Disulfide:N,N-Dimethylformamide
    maximum volume: 12 Liters   
    maximum flow rate: 0.05 L/min
    current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FID
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA 1004)
    method classification: Fully Validated

  • sampling media: Diffusive Sampler (SKC 575-002 Passive Sampler)
    analytical solvent: (99:1) Carbon Disulfide:N,N-Dimethylformamide
    minimum time: 5 Minutes   
    maximum time: 240 Minutes
    current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FID
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA 1004)
    method classification: Fully Validated
    note: Persons using diffusive samplers to monitor workplace air must ensure that the sampling devices are properly closed before transporting such devices to the laboratory for analysis. The device will continue to sample until properly closed. Diffusive sampler accessories used for analysis of samplers must be included with transported samples. Persons using such devices must provide sampling-site station barometric pressure and temperature to the analytical laboratory to improve accuracy of sampling results.

  • sampling media: Diffusive Sampler (3M 3520 Organic Vapor Monitor)
    analytical solvent: (99:1) Carbon Disulfide:N,N-Dimethylformamide
    minimum time: 5 Minutes   
    maximum time: 240 Minutes
    current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FID
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA 1004)
    method classification: Fully Validated
    note: Persons using diffusive samplers to monitor workplace air must ensure that the sampling devices are properly closed before transporting such devices to the laboratory for analysis. The device will continue to sample until properly closed. Diffusive sampler accessories used for analysis of samplers must be included with transported samples. Persons using such devices must provide sampling-site station barometric pressure and temperature to the analytical laboratory to improve accuracy of sampling results.

  • sampling media: Carbosieve S-III Tube (130/65 mg sections; 60/80 mesh)
    analytical solvent: (99:1) Carbon Disulfide:Dimethyl Formamide
    maximum volume: 3 Liters   
    maximum flow rate: 0.05 L/min (TWA)
    maximum volume: 0.75 Liters   
    maximum flow rate: 0.05 L/min (STEL)
    current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FID
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA 84)
    method classification: Fully Validated

  • sampling media: Two Silica Gel Tubes in series (150/75mg sections, 20/40 mesh)
    analytical solvent: Dimethyl Sulfoxide
    alternate analytical solvent: Ethanol
    maximum volume: 3 Liters   
    maximum flow rate: 0.1 L/min (TWA)
    maximum volume: 1.5 Liters   
    maximum flow rate: 0.1 L/min (STEL)
    current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FID
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA 16)
    method classification: Fully Validated

  • sampling media: Anasorb 747 (150/75 mg sections; 20/40 mesh)
    analytical solvent: Carbon disulfide
    maximum volume: 12 Liters   
    maximum flow rate: 0.20 L/min
    current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FID
    method reference: NIOSH Analytical Method (NIOSH 2500 [105 KB PDF, 4 pages])
    method classification: Fully Validated

 

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