Methyl ethyl ketone in 469 products

Angry Julie Monday/flickr
By Jane Kay
Environmental Health News
May 6, 2013

Methyl ethyl ketone, an industrial solvent, was reported by companies in the plastics, surface coatings and textiles of 469 children's products, including boots, hats, trousers and arts and crafts, among dozens of others.

Nike, for example, found it in fabrics and polymers in footwear, handkerchiefs, headwear, baby bibs and toys. H & M reported it in spinning tops, pool toys, infant stimulation toys, puppets, teething rings or pacifiers, party hats and bracelets. Levi Strauss & Co. found it in trousers.

Methyl ethyl ketone is toxic to the nervous system, and can irritate the skin, eyes, nose and throat. Prolonged exposure to workers can cause neurological symptoms such as fatigue and headache, according to occupational studies. MEK also is considered a reproductive toxicant based on lab animal evidence that included decreased fetal weight and malformations.

“No information is available on the developmental, reproductive, or carcinogenic effects of methyl ethyl ketone in humans,” the EPA says.

Its primary use is as a solvent in industrial processes involving gums, resins, and cellulose, but it also is used in the manufacturer of rubber, waxes, lacquers, varnishes and glues.

For more information on methyl ethyl ketone in products, search the Washington state database.


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