The following information has been extracted from our CHEMINFO database, which also contains hazard control and regulatory information. [More about...] [Sample Record]

Access the complete CHEMINFO database by contacting CCOHS Client Services.


CHEMINFO Record Number: 309
CCOHS Chemical Name: Methyl vinyl ketone

Acetyl ethylene
Methylene acetone
Vinyl methyl ketone
Methylvinyl ketone
Methyl ethenyl ketone

Chemical Name French: Butène-3 one-2
CAS Registry Number: 78-94-4
UN/NA Number(s): 1251
RTECS Number(s): EM9800000
EU EINECS/ELINCS Number: 201-160-6
Chemical Family: Unsaturated aliphatic ketone / alkyl alkenyl ketone / butenone
Molecular Formula: C4-H6-O
Structural Formula: CH3-C(=O)-CH=CH2


Appearance and Odour:
Colourless to light yellow liquid with a pungent, irritating odour.(1,4)

Odour Threshold:
0.2 ppm (cited as 0.572 mg/m3) (2)

Warning Properties:
NOT RELIABLE - The TLV is about the same magnitude as the odour threshold.

Methyl vinyl ketone is available in grades with purity of 90% and 95-99%. It may contain up to 1% hydroquinone or mixtures of hydroquinone (0.5%) and acetic acid (0.1-0.5% ) as inhibitors to prevent polymerization.(1,3,5)

Uses and Occurrences:
Methyl vinyl ketone is used as a co-monomer in photodegradable plastics; as a monomer for vinyl resins; as a component of ionomer resins; as an intermediate in the synthesis of steroids and vitamin A; and as an alkylating agent in chemical reactions.(3,23)


Colourless to light yellow liquid with a pungent, irritating odour. EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE LIQUID AND VAPOUR. Vapour is heavier than air and may spread long distances. Distant ignition and flashback are possible. Vapour or uninhibited liquid polymerizes on standing at room temperature, if heated, or exposed to sunlight (ultraviolet light), oxidizing materials or peroxides - may rupture containers. Inhibited liquid may also polymerize if heated sufficiently (e.g. by exposure to fire). Closed containers may rupture, releasing product. VERY TOXIC. May be fatal if inhaled, absorbed through the skin or swallowed. Vapour is extremely irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract. Causes lung injury-effects may be delayed. CORROSIVE to the eyes and skin. May cause permanent eye damage, including blindness, and skin burns, including permanent scarring.


Effects of Short-Term (Acute) Exposure

Methyl vinyl ketone very readily forms high vapour concentrations at room temperature and is extremely flammable. It is very toxic and extremely irritating at very low concentrations. Therefore, methyl vinyl ketone poses a very serious inhalation hazard.
Methyl vinyl ketone is corrosive and causes irritation of the nose, sore throat, coughing and shortness of breath. Even exposures to very low concentrations (5-10 ppm) could lead to severe lung injury with a potentially fatal accumulation of fluid (pulmonary edema), based on animal information. Symptoms of pulmonary edema (chest pain and shortness of breath) can be delayed for 24-48 hours after exposure. No human exposure information was located.

Skin Contact:
Methyl vinyl ketone is corrosive, based on animal information. Corrosive materials are capable of producing severe burns, blisters, ulcers and permanent scarring, depending on the concentration of solutions and the duration of contact.
Methyl vinyl ketone can be absorbed through the skin and is toxic by this route of exposure, based on animal information.

Eye Contact:
Methyl vinyl ketone is corrosive to the eyes, based on the fact that skin corrosion has been observed in animals. Corrosive materials are capable of producing severe eye burns, and permanent injury, including blindness, depending on the concentration of solutions and duration of contact.
Methyl vinyl ketone vapour is also irritating to the eyes at relatively low concentrations (less than 10 ppm), based on limited human and animal information. In the synthetic rubber industry in Czech Republic, methyl vinyl ketone was suspected of causing inflammation of the eye and injury to the corneal epithelium.(22, unconfirmed) No further details are available.

Methyl vinyl ketone is very toxic if ingested, based on animal toxicity information. It is corrosive and can burn the lips, tongue, throat and stomach with abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and death. Methyl vinyl ketone may pose an aspiration hazard based on comparison to other ketones. If it is aspirated (breathed into the lungs) during ingestion or vomiting, it will cause severe lung injury, which could result in death. Ingestion is not a typical route of occupational exposure.

Effects of Long-Term (Chronic) Exposure

Animal information suggests that long-term inhalation exposure to low concentrations of methyl vinyl ketone is extremely irritating to the upper respiratory tract (nose and throat). There is no human or other animal information available.

Lungs/Respiratory System:
Methyl vinyl ketone is corrosive to the respiratory tract. Long-term exposure to low concentrations (2 ppm for 13 weeks) has produced severe irritation in the noses of rats. Exposure to 4 ppm for 2 weeks caused tissue death (necrosis) in the lower airways and one exposure to 8 ppm caused death in rats. There is no human information available.

Skin Sensitization:
It is not possible to conclude that methyl vinyl ketone is an occupational skin sensitizer based on the limited evidence located.
One report of human skin sensitization was located, but the affected worker was apparently not actually tested for sensitivity to methyl vinyl ketone.(38) Two animal studies were located. One does not meet current testing standards and the other does not provide enough detail to properly evaluate the results, even though methyl vinyl ketone is described as a "strong sensitizer" by the authors.


There is no human or animal information available.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has not evaluated the carcinogenicity of this chemical.

The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has not assigned a carcinogenicity designation to this chemical.

The US National Toxicology Program (NTP) has not listed this chemical in its report on carcinogens.

Teratogenicity and Embryotoxicity:
There is no human or animal information available.

Reproductive Toxicity:
There is no human information available. It is not possible to draw conclusions from the one animal study located. Some changes suggestive of reproductive effects were observed in male rats (decreased testes weights and sperm numbers), but not mice similarly exposed. The observed effects were not dose-dependant and reproductive outcome (fertility) was not evaluated.

There is no human or animal information available. Therefore, it is not possible to conclude that methyl vinyl ketone is mutagenic. Methyl vinyl ketone appears to have mutagenic activity in bacteria. It has tested positive in a number of bacteria tests and it has been found to bind to DNA in bacteria. Negative results have also been obtained in bacteria and in one test using cultured mammalian cells.

Toxicologically Synergistic Materials:
There is no information available.

Potential for Accumulation:
Probably does not accumulate. There is no human or animal information available.


This chemical is extremely flammable and very toxic. Take proper precautions to ensure your own safety before attempting rescue (e.g. wear appropriate protective equipment, use the "buddy" system and remove any sources of ignition). Remove source of contamination or move victim to fresh air. If breathing has stopped, trained personnel should begin artificial respiration or, if the heart has stopped, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately. If breathing is difficult, oxygen may be beneficial if administered by a person trained in its use, preferably on a doctor's advice. Immediately transport victim to an emergency care facility.

Skin Contact:
Avoid direct contact. Wear chemical protective gloves, if necessary. As quickly as possible, flush contaminated area with lukewarm, gently running water for at least 20-30 minutes, by the clock. Under running water, remove contaminated clothing, shoes, and leather goods (e.g., watchbands, belts). If irritation persists, repeat flushing. Quickly transport victim to an emergency care facility. Discard contaminated clothing, shoes and leather goods.

Eye Contact:
Avoid direct contact. Wear chemical protective gloves, if necessary. Immediately flush the contaminated eye(s) with lukewarm, gently flowing water for 20-30 minutes, by the clock, holding the eyelid(s) open. Take care not to rinse contaminated water into the non-affected eye. If irritation persists, repeat flushing. Quickly transport victim to an emergency care facility.

NEVER give anything by mouth if victim is rapidly losing consciousness, or is unconscious or convulsing. Have victim rinse mouth thoroughly with water. DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING. Have victim drink 240 to 300 mL (8 to 10 oz.) of water to dilute material in stomach. If vomiting occurs naturally, have victim lean forward to reduce risk of aspiration. Repeat administration of water. If breathing has stopped, trained personnel should begin artificial respiration or, if heart has stopped, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately. Quickly transport victim to an emergency care facility.

First Aid Comments:
Provide general supportive measures (comfort, warmth, rest).
Consult a doctor and/or the nearest Poison Control Centre for all exposures.
Some recommendations in the above sections may be considered medical acts in some jurisdictions. These recommendations should be reviewed with a doctor and appropriate delegation of authority obtained, as required.
All first aid procedures should be periodically reviewed by a doctor familiar with the material and its conditions of use in the workplace.

Note to Physicians:
Signs of pulmonary edema may be delayed.


Flash Point:
-7 deg C (20 deg F) (closed cup) (4,24)

Lower Flammable (Explosive) Limit (LFL/LEL):
2.1% (4,24)

Upper Flammable (Explosive) Limit (UFL/UEL):
15.6% (4,24)

Autoignition (Ignition) Temperature:
491 deg C (915 deg F) (1,4)

Sensitivity to Mechanical Impact:
Probably not sensitive. Stable material.

Sensitivity to Static Charge:
Specific information is not available. Methyl vinyl ketone will probably not accumulate static charge based on comparison with related ketones, which have high electrical conductivities. Mixtures of methyl vinyl ketone vapour and air at concentrations in the flammable range can be ignited by a static discharge of sufficient energy.

Electrical Conductivity:
Not available

Minimum Ignition Energy:
Not available

Combustion and Thermal Decomposition Products:
Carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and other toxic and irritating gases and fumes.

Fire Hazard Summary:
EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE. Will ignite at room temperature. Vapour is heavier than air and may travel a considerable distance to a source of ignition and flash back to a leak or open container. Hazardous polymerization may occur under fire conditions. Methyl vinyl ketone vapours are uninhibited and may polymerize explosively in a fire and may form polymers in vents and flame arresters, resulting in blockage of vents and/or the rupture of closed containers. During a fire, irritating/toxic gases and fumes may be generated. Vapours can accumulate in confined spaces, resulting a fire and toxicity hazard. Can form explosive peroxides during prolonged exposure to air. Peroxides may explode violently when heated. Closed containers may rupture violently and suddenly release large amounts of product when exposed to fire or excessive heat for a sufficient period of time.

Extinguishing Media:
Carbon dioxide, dry chemical powder, appropriate foam, water spray or fog. Water may be effective for cooling, but may not be effective for extinguishing a fire because it will not cool methyl vinyl ketone below its flash point.(4) Fire fighting foams, such as multipurpose alcohol-resistant foams, are recommended for most flammable liquid fires. Foam manufacturers should be consulted for recommendations regarding types of foams and application rates.

Fire Fighting Instructions:
Use extreme caution, since explosive polymerization may occur under fire conditions and may rupture containers. Fight fire from a protected, explosion-resistant location or maximum possible distance. Approach fire from upwind to avoid hazardous vapours and toxic decomposition products. Wear full protective suit if exposure is possible. See Protection of Firefighters.
Water can extinguish the fire if used under favourable conditions and when hose streams are applied by experienced firefighters trained in fighting all types of flammable liquid fires.(4)
If fire occurs in the vicinity of methyl vinyl ketone, use unmanned monitors and hoseholders to keep cooling streams of water on fire-exposed containers, tanks or pipelines until well after the fire is out, in order to protect their contents from the danger of polymerization. This should begin as soon as possible and should concentrate on any unwetted portions of the container. Stay away from ends of tanks. Withdraw immediately in case of rising sound from venting safety device or any discolouration of tank due to fire.
In an advanced or massive fire, the area should be evacuated; use unmanned hoseholders or monitor nozzles. If this is is not possible, withdraw from fire area and do not attempt to fight the fire.
If a leak or spill has not ignited, use water spray to cool and disperse the vapours. Water spray may also be used to dilute spills to non-flammable mixtures and to flush spills away from ignition sources. Dike fire control water for appropriate disposal. Solid streams of water may be ineffective and spread material.
Tanks, drums or other containers should not be approached directly after they have been involved in a fire or heated by exposure, until they have completely cooled down.
Before entering such an area, especially confined areas, check the atmosphere with an appropriate monitoring device while wearing full protective suit.

Protection of Fire Fighters:
Methyl vinyl ketone is very toxic by inhalation, irritating to the respiratory tract and is corrosive. Do not enter without wearing specialized equipment suitable for the situation. Firefighter's normal protective clothing (Bunker Gear) will not provide adequate protection. Chemical protective clothing (e.g. chemical splash suit) and positive pressure self-contained breathing apparatus (NIOSH approved or equivalent) may be necessary.


NFPA - Health: 4 - Very short exposure could cause death or major residual injury.
NFPA - Flammability: 3 - Liquids and solids that can be ignited under almost all ambient temperature conditions.
NFPA - Instability: 2 - Undergoes violent chemical change at elevated temperatures and pressures, or reacts violently with water, or may form explosive mixtures with water.


Molecular Weight: 70.09

Conversion Factor:
1 ppm = 2.86 mg/m3; 1 mg/m3 = 0.35 ppm at 25 deg C (calculated)

Physical State: Liquid
Melting Point: -7 deg C (19.4 deg F) (1,25)
Boiling Point: 81.4 deg C (178.5 deg F) (3,26)
Relative Density (Specific Gravity): 0.864 at 20 deg C; 0.841 at 25 deg C (water = 1) (26,27)
Solubility in Water: Soluble (6.06 g/100 mL at 20 deg C) (28)
Solubility in Other Liquids: Very soluble in diethyl ether and acetone; soluble in ethanol, methanol and glacial acetic acid; slightly soluble in hydrocarbons.(27,29)
Coefficient of Oil/Water Distribution (Partition Coefficient): Log P (oct) = 0.41 (estimated) (30)
pH Value: Not available
Acidity: Ketones are weak acids.(31)
Viscosity-Dynamic: Not available
Surface Tension: 24 mN/m (24 dynes/cm) at 20 deg C (estimated) (1)
Vapour Density: 2.42 (air = 1) (calculated)
Vapour Pressure: 20.27 kPa (152 mm Hg) at 25 deg C (estimated) (28); also reported as 11.20 kPa (84 mm Hg) at 25 deg C (25)
Saturation Vapour Concentration: 200000 ppm (20%) at 25 deg C (calculated); also 110500 ppm (11.05%) at 25 deg C (calculated)
Evaporation Rate: Not available. Very volatile.
Henry's Law Constant: 4.71 Pa.m3/mol (cited as 4.65 x 10(-5) atm.m3/mol) at 25 deg C (28); log H = -2.72 (dimensionless constant; calculated)


Uninhibited methyl vinyl ketone is unstable at normal temperatures. It polymerizes on standing at room temperature (3,5), on exposure to light (sunlight or ultraviolet light) (24) or in the presence of contaminants, such as peroxides (4). Uninhibited methyl vinyl ketone is stable only below 0 deg C.(3,5) Methyl vinyl ketone is stable in the presence of an inhibitor, when kept at normal temperatures and away from light and polymerization initiators. Prolonged (12 months) exposure to air can produce peroxides.(36,37) Concentrated solutions of ketone peroxides (greater than 30%) may explode.(3)

Hazardous Polymerization:
Uninhibited methyl vinyl ketone or material that is depleted of inhibitor polymerizes on standing at room temperature.(3,5) Polymerization may also be caused by high temperatures, light (ultraviolet or sunlight), oxidizing materials or peroxides.(4) Inhibited methyl vinyl ketone can polymerize if heated sufficiently (e.g. by exposure to fire), leading to rupture of the container.(24) Polymerization can also occur with methyl vinyl ketone vapour.(4) In a case report, uninhibited methyl vinyl ketone in a glass bottle polymerized rapidly, after standing at room temperature for at least 19 hours. The bottle shattered due to the internal pressure built up by the polymerization reaction.(32) Methyl vinyl ketone is generally stabilized with hydroquinone or mixtures of hydroquinone or catechol and acetic or formic acids.(1,3)

Incompatibility - Materials to Avoid:

NOTE: Chemical reactions that could result in a hazardous situation (e.g. generation of flammable or toxic chemicals, fire or detonation) are listed here. Many of these reactions can be done safely if specific control measures (e.g. cooling of the reaction) are in place. Although not intended to be complete, an overview of important reactions involving common chemicals is provided to assist in the development of safe work practices.

STRONG OXIDIZING AGENTS (e.g. bromine, chromic acid, nitric acid, nitric acid-sulfuric acid mixture) - may react violently or explosively, with increased risk of fire.(1,4,24)
STRONG BASES (e.g. sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide) - may react vigorously or violently.(4)
STRONG REDUCING AGENTS (e.g. hydrides, such as lithium aluminum hydride or sodium borohydride) - may react vigorously or violently. Increased risk of fire.(4)
PERCHLORIC ACID - ketones may undergo violent decomposition in contact with 68-72% acid.(4,24)
HYDROGEN PEROXIDE or MIXTURES of HYDROGEN PEROXIDE and NITRIC ACID - may overheat and explode violently due to the formation of shock- and heat-sensitive peroxides.(4,24)
MIXTURES of HALOFORMS (e.g. chloroform or bromoform) and STRONG BASES (e.g. potassium hydroxide) - may react vigorously or explosively, with evolution of heat.(24)

Hazardous Decomposition Products:
Unstable peroxides (following prolonged storage, and in the presence of air).

Conditions to Avoid:
Heat, sparks, open flames, other ignition sources, sunlight, low inhibitor concentration, contamination, prolonged exposure to air.

Corrosivity to Metals:
No specific information for methyl vinyl ketone was located.

Corrosivity to Non-Metals:
There is no specific information available for methyl vinyl ketone. In general, unsaturated aliphatic ketones like methyl vinyl ketone attack plastics, such as polyvinylidene fluoride (Kynar), polyvinylidene chloride (Saran), chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN), rigid polyurethane, polyethylene (high density and ultra high molecular weight), polysulfone, bisphenol-A fumarate and isophthalic thermoset polyester, polystyrene and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) (34); and elastomers, such as nitrile Buna N (NBR), Viton, chloroprene, isoprene, natural rubber, polyurethane and silicone.(35) Unsaturated aliphatic ketones in general do not attack plastics, such as Teflon and other fluorocarbons, polypropylene, nylon, polyester fibre (Dacron), acrylic fibre (Orlon), polyethylene terephthalate and polybutylene terephthalate (34); and elastomers, such as ethylene-propylene and butyl rubber.(35)


LC50 (rat): 5-10 ppm (4-hour exposure); cited as 4-8 ppm (6-hour exposure) (0/10 and 10/10 died (7)
LC50 (mouse): greater than 10 ppm (4-hour exposure); cited as greater than 8 ppm (6-hour exposure) (2/10 died) (7)
LC50 (rat): 2.5 ppm (4-hour exposure); cited as 7 mg/m3 (4-hour exposure) (9, unconfirmed)
LC50 (mouse): 2 ppm (4-hour exposure); cited as 8 mg/m3 (2-hour exposure) (9, unconfirmed)

LD50 (oral, guinea pig): less than 15 mg/kg (8)
LD50 (oral, rat): less than 25 mg/kg (8)
LD50 (oral, rat): 23.1 mg/kg (cited as 23100 microg/kg) (9, unconfirmed)
LD50 (oral, mouse): 23.3 mg/kg (cited as 23300 microg/kg) (9, unconfirmed)

LD50 (dermal, guinea pig): less than 835 mg/kg (cited as less than 1 cc/kg) (8)

Eye Irritation:

The liquid is expected to be corrosive, based on the fact that corrosive effects were observed following skin contact. The vapour is very irritating at low concentrations.

No studies with exposure to liquid methyl vinyl ketone were located. Exposure to methyl vinyl ketone vapour caused immediate eye irritation in rats and guinea pigs exposed to 7.8 ppm and in 5 minutes with exposure to 3.9 ppm.(8)

Skin Irritation:

Methyl vinyl ketone is corrosive to the skin.

Application of 835 mg/kg (cited as 1 cc/kg) of undiluted methyl vinyl ketone, under a patch, caused gross swelling, tissue death (necrosis) and death in 3 guinea pigs.(8)

Effects of Short-Term (Acute) Exposure:

Exposure to low concentrations of methyl vinyl ketone causes severe respiratory irritation, concentration-dependent tissue injury (necrosis) in the respiratory system, unconsciousness and death.

Rats and mice were exposed to 0, 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, 4, or 8 ppm methyl vinyl ketone 12 times over 2 weeks (6 hr/d). One exposure to 8 ppm caused death or unconsciousness in 10/10 rats, while 2/5 male mice died after 10 exposures to 8 ppm. Death was caused by severe concentration-dependant tissue injury (necrosis) in the airways. In mice, relative lung weights were significantly increased at 8 ppm only. At 4 ppm, relative lung weights of male rats were significantly increased and lung weights of female rats were decreased. No necrosis was present in rats or mice exposed to 1 ppm or less. At 1 ppm, mild abnormalities in the cells lining the respiratory tract (metaplasia) were observed in rats, but not mice. Body weight reductions were noted in rats exposed to 2 and 4 ppm, and in mice exposed to 4 and 8 ppm.(7) Male rats, guinea pigs and rabbits were exposed to 0, 2.1, 3.9, or 7.8 ppm methyl vinyl ketone for 9 days (6 hr/d). Organ weights were measured for rats and guinea pigs only. At 7.8 ppm, nose and eye irritation, difficulty breathing, and weakness were observed during exposure. Over the 9 days, the animals had reduced food intake, gradual weight loss, and 9/10 rats died. None of the guinea pigs or rabbits died. Acute inflammation of the respiratory tract was found in most animals. The guinea pigs had increased relative lung and kidney weights. At 3.9 ppm, all animals had nose and eye irritation during exposure. Exposure produced decreased food intake, with resulting weight loss, moderate inflammation of the respiratory tract, decreased lung and kidney weights in rats, decreased absolute liver weights in rats, and death in 2/10 rats and 1/3 rabbits. At 2.1 ppm, no toxic effects were noted.(8) Mice exposed to methyl vinyl ketone for 15 minutes exhibited a decrease in respiratory rate with the RD50 (the dose resulting in a decrease in the respiratory rate by 50%) calculated to be 5.28 ppm. The RD50 is an indicator of sensory irritation (irritation to the eyes and nose).(10, unconfirmed) People exposed to the RD50 would experience intolerable burning of the eyes, nose and throat.

Effects of Long-Term (Chronic) Exposure:

Signs of severe irritation of the upper respiratory tract were observed in rats and mice exposed to 2 ppm for 13 weeks.

Rats and mice were exposed to 0, 0.5, 1 or 2 ppm methyl vinyl ketone for 13 weeks (6 hrs/d). Tissue examination showed differences only in the noses of rats exposed to 1 and 2 ppm and in mice exposed to 2 ppm. At 2 ppm, tissue death (necrosis), mild inflammation and abnormalities in the cells lining the nasal cavity were present in rats. In rats exposed to 1 ppm and mice exposed to 2 ppm, abnormalities in cells lining the nasal cavity were present. At 2 ppm, body weights were significantly reduced in male and female rats and relative lung and kidney weights were increased in females. Body weights were not affected in mice. Relative liver weights of male mice were increased at all concentrations, and absolute liver and heart weights were increased at 2 ppm. In female mice, relative kidney, liver and lung weights were increased at 2 ppm, and relative liver weights were increased at 1 ppm. No changes in serum chemistry were noted for rats or mice exposed to any concentration. Decreased white blood cell counts were noted in male rats exposed to 2 ppm after 4 and 21 days, but not at 13 weeks, and in male mice exposed to all concentrations at 13 weeks.(7)

Skin Sensitization:
There is insufficient evidence available to conclude that methyl vinyl ketone is a skin sensitizer.
In a test using the Polak method with Freunds Complete Adjuvant, positive results were obtained in guinea pigs. Methyl vinyl ketone is described by the authors as a "strong sensitizer".(39,40,41) This study is limited by poor reporting (for example, the number of animal/group and the number of animals showing a positive reaction are not specified). Therefore, it is not possible to conclude that methyl vinyl ketone is a sensitizer based on this study. Positive results are also reported for guinea pigs in another test that does not meeting current standards for evaluating skin sensitization.(39)

Reproductive Toxicity:
Effects on some reproductive parameters (testes weight and sperm count) were observed in male rats, but not mice, exposed to 2 ppm for 13 weeks. Reproductive outcome (fertility) was not assessed.
Rats and mice were exposed by inhalation to 0, 0.5, 1 or 2 ppm methyl vinyl ketone for 13 weeks (6 hr/d). The testes and epididymis were collected and weighed, sperm motility, sperm numbers and sperm density were measured, and the female reproductive cycle was examined. Significant reductions were noted in testes weight and in sperm numbers of rats exposed to 2 ppm. However, these changes were not concentration related. No other differences were noted for rats or mice.(7)

It is not possible to conclude that methyl vinyl ketone is mutagenic, based on the available information.
A negative result (DNA repair) was obtained in a test using cultured mammalian cells.(11) Positive results (dose-related increases in gene mutations and DNA repair) were observed in several studies using bacteria, both with and without metabolic activation.(12,13,14,15) Methyl vinyl ketone binds with components of DNA in bacteria.(15,16,17) Negative results (gene mutation) were also obtained in tests using bacteria.(18,19,20) However, these studies are either modifications of standard tests designed for screening large numbers of chemicals quickly, or have used a limited number of bacterial strains and therefore may not be as reliable.
Methyl vinyl ketone inhibited the division of growth of bacteria in a manner that was reversible by the addition of the amino acid cysteine. The authors suggest that the inhibition may be due to methyl vinyl ketone interfering with proteins necessary for cell division or gene control.(21)


Selected Bibliography:
(1) Methyl vinyl ketone. In: Pohanish, R.P., et al. Hazardous materials handbook. Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1996. p. 1135-1136
(2) Ruth J.H. Odor thresholds and irritation levels of several chemical substances: a review. American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal. Vol. 47 (Mar. 1986). p. A-148
(3) Braithwaite. Ketones. In: Kirk-Othmer encyclopedia of chemical technology. 4th ed. Vol. 14. John Wiley and Sons, 1995. p. 978-985, 1002
(4) Fire protection guide to hazardous materials. 13th ed. Edited by A.B. Spencer, et al. National Fire Protection Association, 2002. NFPA 49; NFPA 325; NFPA 491 (ketones)
(5) Siegel, H., et al. Ketones. In: Ullmann's encyclopedia of industrial chemistry. 5th completely revised ed. Vol. A 15. VCH Publishers, 1990. p. 77-78, 86-87
(6) Forsberg, K., et al. Quick selection guide to chemical protective clothing. 4th ed. Van Nostrand Reinhold, 2002
(7) Morgan, D.L., et al. Upper respiratory tract toxicity of inhaled methylvinyl ketone in F344 rats and B6C3F1 mice. Toxicological Sciences. Vol. 58, no. 1 (2000). p. 182-194
(8) Initial submission: letter from Eastman Kodak to USEPA regarding toxicity studies of 3-buten-2-one with attachments with cover letter dated 09/02/92. Eastman Kodak. Date produced: Nov. 9, 1973. EPA/OTS 88-920008988. NTIS/OTS0555304.
(9) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Methyl vinyl ketone. Last updated: 2002-7. In: Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS(R)). [CD-ROM]. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS). Issue: 2002-3. Also available at: <>
(10) Muller, J., et al. Investigation into the relationship between the toxicity of molecules of industrial interest and physical-chemical properties: upper respiratory tract irritation test applied to four chemical families. [Translation]. Food and Chemical Toxicology. Vol. 22, no. 8 (1984). p. 661-664
(11) Williams, G.M., et al. Structure-activity relationships in the rat hepatocyte DNA-repair test for 300 chemicals. Mutation Research. Vol. 221 (1989). p. 263-286
(12) Watanabe, K., et al. Comparisons on chemically-induced mutation among four bacterial strains, Salmonella typhimurium TA 102 and TA2638, and Escherichia coli WP2/pKM101 and WP2/uvrA/pKM101: collaborative study II. Mutation Research. Vol. 412 (1998). p. 17-31
(13) Neudecker, T., et al. Mutagenicity of methyl vinyl ketone in Salmonella typhimurium TA-100 - indication for epoxidation as an activation mechanism. Mutation Research. Vol. 227, no. 2 (1989). p. 131-134
(14) Lutz, D., et al. Structure-mutagenicity relationship in alpha,beta-unsaturated carbonylic compounds and their corresponding allylic alcohols. Mutation Research. Vol. 93 (1982). p. 305-315
(15) Eder, E., et al. Molecular mechanisms of DNA damage initiated by alpha,beta-unsaturated carbonyl compounds as criteria for genotoxicity and mutagenicity. Environmental Health Perspectives. Vol. 88 (1990). p. 99-106
(16) Eder, E., et al. Identification and characterization of deoxyguanosine adducts of methyl vinyl ketone and ethyl vinyl ketone, genotoxicity of the ketones in the SOS chromotest. Chemical Research in Toxicology. Vol. 4, no. 1 (1991). p. 50-57
(17) Young, R., et al. Modification of deoxyguanosine by simple alpha,beta-unsaturated carbonyl compounds. Presented at the 74th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research, San Diego, California. Abstract 269 (1983). p. 68
(18) Marnett, L.J., et al. Naturally occurring carbonyl compounds are mutagens in Salmonella tester strain TA 104. Mutation Research. Vol. 148 (1985). p. 25-34
(19) Florin, I., et al. Screening of tobacco smoke constituents for mutagenicity using the Ames' test. Toxicology. Vol. 18 (1980). p. 219-232
(20) McMahon, R.E., et al. Assay of 855 test chemicals in ten tester strains using a new modification of the Ames test for bacterial mutagens. Cancer Research. Vol. 39 (1979). p. 682-693
(21) Egyud, L.G. Studies on cell division: the effect of aldehydes, ketones and alpha-keto-aldehydes on the proliferation of Escherichia coli. Currents in Modern Biology. Vol. 1 (1967). p. 14-20
(22) Nystrom, A.E. Health hazards in the chloroprene rubber industry and their prevention. Acta Medica Scandinavia. Vol. 132, suppl. 219 (1948). p. 5-23
(23) Lewis, Sr., R.J., ed. Vinyl methyl ketone. Hawley's condensed chemical dictionary. [CD-ROM]. 14th ed. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2002
(24) Urben, P.G., ed. Bretherick's reactive chemical hazards database. [CD-ROM]. 6th ed. Version 3.0. Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd., 1999
(25) Verschueren, K. Handbook of environmental data on organic chemicals. 4th ed. Vol. 2. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2001. p. 1547-1548
(26) Dean, J.A. Lange's handbook of chemistry. 15th ed. McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1999. p. 1.129
(27) Methyl vinyl ketone. The Merck index: an encyclopedia of chemicals, drugs and biologicals. Edited by M.J. O'Neil, et al. 13th ed. Merck and Company, 2001. p. 1092
(28) Syracuse Research Corporation. The Physical Properties Database (PHYSPROP). Interactive PhysProp Database Demo. Date unknown. Available at: <>
(29) Lide, D.R., ed. Handbook of chemistry and physics. [CD-ROM]. Chapman and Hall/CRCnetBASE, 1999
(30) Syracuse Research Corporation. Interactive LogKow (KowWin) Database Demo. Date unknown. Available at: <>
(31) Streitweiser, A., et al. Introduction to organic chemistry. 4th ed. Rev. printing. Prentice Hall, Inc. 1998. p. 537
(32) Safety and Fire Protection Committee. Case histories of accidents in the chemical industry. Vol. 3. Manufacturing Chemist Association, Inc., Apr. 1970. p. 133-134
(33) Pruett, K.M. Chemical resistance guide to metals and alloys: a guide to chemical resistance of metals and alloys. Compass Publications, 1995. p. 182-193
(34) Pruett, K.M. Chemical resistance guide for plastics: a guide to chemical resistance of engineering thermoplastics, fluoroplastics, fibers and thermoset resins. Compass Publications, 2000. p. 278-289
(35) Pruett, K.M. Chemical resistance guide for elastomers II: a guide to chemical resistance of rubber and elastomeric compounds. Compass Publications, 1994. p. C-206 to C-211
(36) Kelly, R. Review of safety guidelines for peroxidizable organic chemicals. Chemical Health and Safety. Vol. 3, no. 5 (Sept./Oct. 1996). p. 28-36
(37) Clark, D.E. Peroxides and peroxide-forming compounds. Chemical Health and Safety. Vol. 8, no. 5 (Sept./Oct. 2001). p. 12-21
(38) Methyl vinyl ketone. In: Occupational Toxicants: Critical Data Evaluation for MAK Values and Classification of Carcinogens. Vol. 9. Edited by H. Greim. DFG Commission for the Investigation of Health Hazards of Chemical Compounds in the Work Area. Wiley-VCH, June 1998. p. 91-102
(39) Parker, D., et al. Epicutaneous induction of tolerance with acrylates and related compounds. Contact Dermatitis. Vol. 12 (1985). p. 146-154
(40) Bull, J.E., et al. Predictive value of assessment of lymph node weight and T-lymphocyte proliferation in contact sensitivity in acrylates. The Journal of Investigative Dermatology. Vol. 85 (1985). p. 403-406
(41) Turk, J.L., et al. Induction of immunologic tolerance: desensitization to occupational allergens. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Vol. 78, no. 5, part 2 (Nov. 1986). p. 1082-1085

Information on chemicals reviewed in the CHEMINFO database is drawn from a number of publicly available sources. A list of general references used to compile CHEMINFO records is available in the database Help.

Review/Preparation Date: 2004-10-07

Revision Indicators:
Stability 2006-03-15
Hazardous polymerization 2006-03-15
WHMIS proposed classification 2006-03-15
WHMIS classification comments 2006-03-15
Emergency overview 2006-03-15
Engineering controls 2006-03-16
Handling 2006-03-16
Bibliography 2006-04-03
Long-term exposure 2006-04-03
Toxicological info 2006-04-03
WHMIS detailed classification 2006-04-03

©2007 Canadian  Centre  for  Occupational  Health  &  Safety  E-mail:  Fax: (905) 572-2206  Phone: (905) 572-2981  
Mail:  250  Main  Street  East,  Hamilton  Ontario  L8N  1H6