Chloroacetone (1,1-Dichloroacetone and 1,3-Dichloroacetone) is produced by the direct chlorination of acetone. It also has been manufactured by reacting chlorine with diketene followed by boiling with water. It is used in the manufacture of couplers for color photography, drugs, perfumes, insecticides and other chemicals. Chloroacetone has a pungent, suffocating odor similar to hydrogen chloride. It is toxic by inhalation, ingestion, and dermal contact. Other effects from exposure to chloroacetone include contact burns of the skin and eyes, nausea, bronchospasm, delayed pulmonary edema, and death.
Dichloroacetones can form as byproducts of water disinfection involving chlorine, when large organic molecules are present. A study published by the American Water Association reports that 1,1-dichloracetone was detected in several water treatment facilities around the United States.
Health Impact of Chloroacetones
Studies of chloroacetones are limited, but 1,1-dichloroacetone has been shown to have toxic effects on the liver, and some chloroacetones were shown to be mutagenic in bacterial studies. Chloroacetone at a concentration of 605 ppm in air was reported to be lethal to humans after 10 min.