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Please be aware that this old REACH registration data factsheet is no longer maintained; it remains frozen as of 19th May 2023.

The new ECHA CHEM database has been released by ECHA, and it now contains all REACH registration data. There are more details on the transition of ECHA's published data to ECHA CHEM here.

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Environmental fate & pathways

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There are two reliable experimental studies for photo degradation in air. The overall loss rate of acetone including photo dissociation and loss by reaction with OH radicals and the corresponding lifetimes were calculated for January, Equinox and July at 40 degree northern latitude. Lifetimes were 18.6 - 114.4 days. This is in accordance with the findings of the second study. The photo dissociation lifetime for 40°solar angle is 1/kdissoc = 14.8 days. Based on the weight of evidence and on the molecular structure acetone is resistant to hydrolysis. In water acetone may form the ketal by hydration, however ketal formation is reversible.
According to several reliable studies, acetone is readily biodegradable. In a modified OECD 301B screening test acetone was biodegraded to 90.9 ± 2.2 % after 28 days. The 10 days window was met. In a BOD-test according to APHA Standard methods No. 219 (1971) acetone was degraded to 84% based on ThOD in 5 days. In two further BOD-tests biodegradation of acetone yielded 76% after 10 days (84% after 20 days) and 81% after 20 days, respectively. Therefore simulation testing on ultimate degradation in surface water and sediment simulation testing do not need to be conducted. There is one study available for sea water. In a BOD-test acetone was biodegraded  in synthetic salt water by a sea water adapted inoculum to 76% in 20 days. The pass level of 60 % was barely failed. This indicates that biodegradation of acetone may be somewhat slower in sea water, but not significant.
Acetone is biodegradable under anaerobic conditions by adapted microorganisms. After a lag phase of 5 days complete biodegradation was observed
within 4 days by microorganisms previously cross-adapted with acetate.

Another study confirms that acetone is biodegradable under sulphate-reducing, anaerobic conditions by Desulfococcus biacutus, which is adapted to acetone. Acetone is channelled into the intermediate metabolism of the microorganism via a C4-species (acetoacetyl-CoA) and subsequent cleavage to acetyl-CoA and oxidation to CO2. Carbon dioxide is needed for the acetone oxidation via this mechanism. Degradation of Acetone was found to be 74.3 - 95.4 % One study is available for biodegradability in soil. Mineralization of14C acetone was studied in 20 - 40 years old refuse from three parts of a landfill that released volatile organic compounds. The study shows that acetone was mineralized to methane and carbon dioxide in landfill refuse. Mineralization was 21.6 to 40.4 % in all reactors. In the reactors added 14C-acetone in water to simulate rainfall, 14C acetone drained with water. 3.3 - 4.8 % of the added14C was found in the humin fraction. Nature of the binding is unknown.
Deduced as a weight of evidence from the physicochemical data (miscibility with water in all proportions, log Pow = -0.24) acetone should not sorb onto soils.
 Data for soil sorption are quoted in a reliable scientific study. Soil sorption Kd was 1.5 L/kg, at 20 °C. The soil sorption coefficient indicates that acetone is mobile in soil and may be transported by soil water. This study is supported by two other findings. In an adsorption/desorption study with the clay mineral sodium montmorillonite no adsorption of acetone was observed. Sodium montmorillonite is part of the clay fraction of soils. Therefore it can be concluded that acetone does not sorb on mineral fractions of soils. In a further study on anaerobic biodegradation of14C labelled acetone in landfill refuse, the soil was intensively extracted after the experiment. The study shows that acetone is able to percolate through landfill refuse caused by rainfall, despite anaerobic biodegradation occurred. Traces of14C were found in the humin fraction of the refuse, but nature and bonding of these residues were not studied. No physically adsorbed14C-acetone was found in the CH2Cl2-extracts of the samples percolated with water, and only traces of14C-acetone were found in the samples that were not percolated by water, indicating the low adsorption potential of14C-acetone.

No reliable experimental data on bioaccumulation are available. Based on the calculated BCF=3 (input parameter: measured log Kow value) no potential for bioaccumulation is to be expected. Furthermore, according to Annex IX, 9.3.2, testing of bioaccumulation is not necessary, if log Kow is less than 3 (acetone: log Kow=-0.24)

Several reliable experimental studies and further reported values from reliable sources for the Henry’s Law constant are available. According to experimental studies (bubble column technique) the Henry’s Law constant was determined for 2.929 Pa m3mol-1and 3.070 Pa m3mol-1at 25 °C, indicating a moderate volatility from water. The Henry's law constant for sea water was determined for 3.311 Pa m3mol-1at 25 °C. A slight salting-out effect is to be observed by comparison of the Henry's Law constants in fresh and sea water. In both media the Henry's law constants rise with temperature.
Distribution modelling using a simple one-dimensional model of the global circulation assuming a single pulse emission of acetone predicted significantly high spatial ranges of 46.5% of the earth perimeter, which are caused by their intermediate gas-phase stability and high volatility. The persistence’s are predicted below 20 days, mainly due to the degradation in water and soil. A generalised Fate Model based on a steady-state mass balance model designed for primary and biological reactors of a typical diffused air activated sludge system considering the processes advection, sorption, volatilisation, air stripping, and biotransformation was used to predict the fate of acetone in waste water plants. The model calculations implicate that acetone is predominantly in the aqueous phase and without biotransformation it would be transferred to the effluent. Volatilisation is not relevant. In model runs including biodegradation, removal is partly due to biotransformation and to transport to the effluent.There are several studies concerning other distribution data dealing with the partition of acetone between air and water and the behaviour in soils. Air/water partition coefficients range from 357 – 341:1, these data are in accordance with the moderate volatility of acetone deduced from the experimentally derived Henry’s Law constants. Other studies are dealing with the diffusion of acetone in soil air. Soil diffusion coefficient at 0 °C was calculated for 8.8 x 10-3cm2/sec (air: 0.109 cm2/sec). The diffusion coefficient for acetone was found to be considerably lower than in air. Liquid acetone is able to expand clay soils rapidly within 2-3 days to an extent of 3.5 – 8 %.
Environmental monitoring data are available for all compartments. Most studies are from 1979 – 1990. In 2010, the occurrence of acetone in the sludge of a stp receiving the wastewater of INEOS Phenol was investigated. Further recent monitoring data are not available. Studies on environmental concentrations are referring predominantly to atmospheric concentrations. Acetone concentrations in remote areas (Pt Barrow, Alaska, USA, 1967) are reported for 0.72 – 6.96

At rural sites in the USA, acetone concentrations were determined for 0.72 – 2.16 µg/m3 in 1971. Mean Concentrations at rural sites (Arizona, USA, 1982) were found to be 6.2 µg /m3 (SD: ± 0.8). Somewhat higher mean concentrations of 28.8 µg/m3 (SD: ± 4) were found at urban sites (Tucson,Arizona,USA). In at urban sites in Sweden(Stockholm, 1982/83) mean concentrations of acetone in air were in the same order of magnitude of 9.7 — 46.6 µg/m3. There was no statistically significant correlation with traffic exhaust components as CO and benzene. Acetone was found in high concentrations in the air of Stockholm. Possible sources other than vehicle exhaust as solvent use, photochemical oxidation or biogenic sources were discussed. Mean ambient air concentrations in Northern Italy in 1983 – 1984 were found to be 39 µg/m3 (indoor, range: 3 – 157 µg/m3) and 6 µg/m3 (outdoor, range: <2 – 16 µg/m3). For the fresh water there are no background concentrations available. In the USA some studies were performed at contaminated sites. In a contaminated well 3 µg/L acetone were determined. 0.56 – 600 mg/L acetone was measured in landfill leachate. 0.2 — 0.7 µg/L acetone was found in six drinking water wells in the vicinity of a solid waste landfill. In the landfill leachate 43700 µg/L acetone was detected. In contrast to fresh water background concentrations in sea water are available. Acetone concentrations were determined for 0.014 — 0.052 mg acetone /L (Straits of Florida) and 0.018 — 0.053 mg acetone/L (Eastern Mediterranean). 2.4 – 44 mg/kg d.w. acetone was determined in soils (Colorado, USA, 1978) by a purge and trap method. Acetone occurred in all soils tested. The addition of lime increased emission of acetone in the three acid soils tested. According to handbook data acetone is a normal micro component in blood and urine, a minor constituent in pyroligneous acid and an oxidation product of alcohols and humic substances. In Cigarette smoke 2640 mg/m3and gasoline exhaust (partly propionaldehyde) 5.52 – 33.6 mg/m3 were determined. In the sludge from the stp of the Emscher Genossenschaft receiving the wastewater of INEOS Phenol a concentration of 1.5 mg acetone/kg ww was determined (one sample collected 2010).