2-Ethoxyethanol is a common solvent. It, like other glycol ethers, is used in the semiconductor industry. It is also used in surface coatings such as lacquers and paints. It is used in varnish removers, printing inks, duplicating fluids, wood stains, and epoxies.
Substance name: 2-Ethoxyethanol
CASR number: 110-80-5
Molecular formula: C4H10O2
Synonyms: Ethylene glycol monoethyl ether; Glycol ethyl ether; cellosolve; Glycol monoethyl ether; Ethoxyethanol; ethylene glycol ethyl ether; glycol ether ee; Ethyl cellosolve; Ethyl Glycol
2-Ethoxyethanol is a colourless liquid, organic solvent with a sweet odour. It dissolves readily in both water and organic solvents (acetone, benzene, carbon tetrachloride, etc)
Melting Point: -90°C
Boiling Point: 135°C
Vapour Density: 3.1
Specific Gravity: 0.93
Flash point: 40°C (combustible liquid)
Lower explosive limit: 1.8%
Upper explosive limit: 14%
Reacts with strong oxidizers.
The National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) holds data for all sources of 2-Ethoxyethanol emissions in Australia.
2-Ethoxyethanol can effect you when breathed in or by passing through your skin. Short-term exposures may irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. Very high levels may cause you to feel dizzy, lightheaded and to pass out. Long-term effects from exposure to 2-Ethoxyethanol are possible kidney damage, damaged blood cells, damaged testes in males, and decreased fertility in males. 2-Ethoxyethanol has been shown to be a teratogen in animal studies, and is a possible human teratogen. A teratogen is a substance that harms a foetus.
Entering the body
2-Ethoxyethanol will enter the body if we breathe in contaminated air or drink contaminated water. It can also pass through the skin.
Workers in the industries that use or produce 2-Ethoxyethanol are at risk of exposure. Consumers can be exposed to 2-Ethoxyethanol by exposure to air from production and processing facilities using 2-Ethoxyethanol. Consumers may also be exposed to 2-Ethoxyethanol when using consumer products containing 2-Ethoxyethanol, especially if there is not good ventilation. Household hard surface cleaners, paints, varnishes, lacquers, inks and paint removers are some of the consumer products that may release 2-Ethoxyethanol.
Workplace exposure standards
Safe Work Australia sets the workplace exposure standard for 2-ethoxyethanol through the workplace exposure standards for airborne contaminants:
- Maximum eight hour time weighted average (TWA): 5 parts per million (18 mg/m3)
These standards are only appropriate for use in workplaces and are not limited to any specific industry or operation. Make sure you understand how to interpret the standards before you use them.
Drinking water guidelines
There is no guideline for acetone in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.
2-Ethoxyethanol has slight short-term and slight long-term toxicity to aquatic life. Insufficient data are available to predict the effects of 2-Ethoxyethanol on plants, birds or land animals.
Entering the environment
Industrial emissions of 2-Ethoxyethanol can produce elevated, but still low level concentrations in the atmosphere around the source. 2-Ethoxyethanol is readily washed out of the air, this in turn means that about 95% of the 2-Ethoxyethanol emitted to the environment will eventually end up in water. Once in the water it will take between a few weeks to half a year for it to be completely degraded out of the water. Because 2-Ethoxyethanol is used in many consumer products, short-term indoor concentrations may be elevated above the levels considered safe for workers.
Where it ends up
2-Ethoxyethanol is rapidly degraded by chemical and biological processes. 2-Ethoxyethanol is not expected to bio-accumulate.
There are no specific Australian environmental guidelines for 2-Ethoxyethanol.
The primary stationary sources of 2-Ethoxyethanol are the industries that manufacture it or use it in production. Some of the industries that use it in production are the paint, varnish, wood stain, and lacquer industries. It is used in printing and in the semiconductor industry.
Diffuse sources, and industry sources included in diffuse emissions data
Diffuse emissions to air are from commercial and household painting, staining and use of varnish and lacquers. Some inks will also give off low levels of 2-Ethoxyethanol.
2-Ethoxyethanol does not occur naturally in the environment.
There are no known sources of mobile emissions of 2-Ethoxyethanol.
Household hard surface cleaners, ink markers, various paint and paint-related products, paint thinners, polishing preparations.
Sources used in preparing this information
- Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC) (1992), Australian Water Quality Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Waters.
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- Environmental Health Center, a division of the National Safety Council, Environment Writer – Chemical Backgrounders Glycol Ethers Chemical Backgrounder (March, 1999) (accessed, March, 1999)
- Meagher, D (1991), The Macmillan Dictionary of The Australian Environment, Macmillan Education Australia Pty Ltd.
- National Environment Protection Council (1998), National Environment Protection Measure for the National Pollutant Inventory. (accessed, March, 1999)
- New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (1995), Hazardous Substance Fact Sheet, 2-ETHANOXYETHANOL, PO Box 368, Trenton, NJ.
- New Jersey Department of Health, Right to Know Program (1986), TRIFacts, 2-Ethoxyethanol (accessed, March, 1999)
- NTP Chemical Repository, Radian Corporation, 2-Ethoxyethanol (AUGUST 29, 1991) (accessed, March, 1999)
- Richardson, M (1992), Dictionary of Substances and their Effects, Royal Society of Chemistry, Clays Ltd, England.
- Sittig, M (1991), Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, 3rd edition, Noyes Publications, USA.
- Technical Advisory Panel (1999), Final Report to the National Environment Protection Council.
- US Department of Health and Human Services (1990), NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Publication No. 90-117.
- The Environmental Chemicals Data and Information Network (ECDIN) Ethanol, 2-ethoxy (accessed, April, 1999)
- U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), The Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) database ( 1 March, 1997 ) 2-Ethoxyethanol (accessed, March, 1999)
- Worksafe Australia (1996), Hazardous Substance 2-Ethoxyethanol (accessed, March, 1999)
- Safe Work Australia, Workplace exposure standards for airborne contaminants, accessed October 2018.
- National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (2011) - Updated October 2017, accessed May 2018