Hexafluoroacetone is an organic compound with the formula CF3-CO-CF3. It comes in the form of a colourless, hygroscopic, non-flammable, highly reactive gas characterised by a musty odour. The most common form of this substance is hexafluoroacetone sesquihydrate (1.5 H2O). Hexafluoroacetone is a very reactive substance: it will react vigorously with water, forming corrosive acids. In the presence of humidity, reaction of hexafluoroacetone with most metals will generate white fumes of hydrogen gas. Hexafluoroacetone will also undergo violent reactions in the presence of alkali. [1]

Uses [1,2]

Hexafluoroacetone is mostly employed in organic synthesis, but it is also the main chemical intermediate used in the production of hexafluoroisopropanol, as well as polymethyl methacrylates and polyesters for textile coating. It is also found in liquid form and is used in making solvents, adhesives, pharmaceutical products, other chemicals, and as a herbicide.

Routes of Exposure [3]

The main routes of exposure to hexafluoroacetone are:

  • Inhalation;
  • Contact with the skin and eyes;
  • Skin absorption

Health Effects [2,4]

Acute Effects

  • Hexafluoroacetone is toxic; may be fatal if inhaled, ingested or absorbed through skin.
  • Vapours are extremely irritating and corrosive. Contact can severely irritate and burn the skin and eyes.
  • Breathing hexafluoroacetone can irritate the nose and throat causing coughing and wheezing.
  • Breathing hexafluoroacetone can irritate the lungs causing coughing and/or shortness of breath. Higher exposures can cause a build-up of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary oedema), a medical emergency, with severe shortness of breath.
  • Exposure can cause headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and light-headedness.

Chronic Effects

  • Hexafluoroacetone may damage the liver and kidneys.
  • Prolonged exposure may affect the blood cells.
  • Hexafluoroacetone can irritate the lungs. Repeated exposure may cause bronchitis to develop with cough, phlegm, and/or shortness of breath.

Reproductive Hazard

  • There is limited evidence that hexafluoroacetone is a teratogen in animals. Until further testing has been done, it should be treated as a possible teratogen in humans.
  • Hexafluoroacetone may damage the testes (male reproductive glands).

Cancer Hazard

  • Hexafluoroacetone has not been tested for its ability to cause cancer in animals.

Fire Hazard

  • Some hexafluoroacetone may burn but none ignite readily.
  • Vapours from liquefied gas are initially heavier than air and spread along ground.
  • Some of these materials may react violently with water.
  • Cylinders exposed to fire may vent and release toxic and/or corrosive gas through pressure relief devices.
  • Containers may explode when heated.
  • Ruptured cylinders may rocket.

Safety [2,5,6]

First Aid Measures

  • If inhaled: Move to fresh air. If the person is not breathing, give artificial respiration. Avoid mouth-to-mouth contact. Seek immediate medical attention.
  • In case of skin contact: Remove all contaminated clothing. Immediately (within seconds) flush affected area for FIFTEEN (15) minutes. Seek immediate medical attention.
  • In case of eye contact: Remove any contact lenses. Use nearest emergency eyewash immediately for at least FIFTEEN (15) minutes. Seek immediate medical attention and continue eye rinse during transport to hospital.
  • If swallowed: DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING. Never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person. Rinse mouth with water. Seek immediate medical attention.

Exposure Controls & Personal Protection

Engineering Controls

  • Engineering controls are the most effective way of reducing exposure.
  • The best protection is to enclose operations and/or provide local exhaust ventilation at the site of chemical release. Isolating operations can also reduce exposure.
  • Where possible, automatically transfer hexafluoroacetone from cylinders or other storage containers to process containers.

The following work practices are recommended:

  • Workers whose clothing has been contaminated by Hexafluoroacetone should change into clean clothing promptly.
  • Contaminated work clothes should be laundered by individuals who have been informed of the hazards of exposure to hexafluoroacetone.
  • Eye wash fountains should be provided in the immediate work area for emergency use.
  • If there is the possibility of skin exposure, emergency shower facilities should be provided.

Personal Protection

  • Clothing: Avoid skin contact with hexafluoroacetone. Wear solvent-resistant gloves and clothing. Safety equipment suppliers/manufacturers can provide recommendations on the most protective glove/clothing material for your operation. All protective clothing (suits, gloves, footwear, headgear) should be clean, available each day, and put on before work.
  • Eye Protection: Wear non-vented, impact resistant goggles when working with fumes, gases, or vapours. Wear indirect-vent, impact and splash resistant goggles when working with liquids. Wear a face shield along with goggles when working with corrosive, highly irritating or toxic substances.
  • Respiratory Protection: Where the potential exists for exposure over 0.1 ppm, use a MSHA/NIOSH approved supplied-air respirator with a full face piece operated in a pressure-demand or other positive-pressure mode. For increased protection use in combination with an auxiliary self-contained breathing apparatus operated in a pressure-demand or other positive pressure mode.

Handling & Storage

  • Prior to working with Hexafluoroacetone you should be trained on its proper handling and storage.
  • Hexafluoroacetone reacts vigorously when WATER to release Hydrates and considerable amounts of heat.
  • Hexafluoroacetone is not compatible with oxidising agents (such as perchlorates, peroxides, permanganates, chlorates, nitrates, chlorine, bromine and fluorine) and strong acids (such as hydrochloric, sulfuric and nitric).
  • Store in tightly closed containers in a cool, well-ventilated area away from MOISTURE.

Regulation [7,8]

United States

ACIGH: American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists has set a Threshold Limit Value (TLV) for hexafluoroacetone of 0.1 ppm, 0.68 mg/m3 TWA (Skin)

NIOSH: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has established a Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) for hexafluoroacetone of 0.1 ppm TWA (Skin)


Safe Work Australia: Safe Work Australia has set a 8 hour Time Weighted Average concentration for hexafluoroacetone of 0.1 ppm, 0.68 mg/m3