2-Methoxyethanol is used as a jet fuel de-icer. It is also used as a solvent for cellulose acetate, resins, dyes, and quick drying varnishes, enamels, nail polishes and wood stains.
Substance name: 2-Methoxyethanol
CASR number: 109-86-4
Molecular formula: C3H8O2
Synonyms: Ethylene Glycol Mono Methyl Ether; Glycol monomethyl ether; Methyl cellosolve; Methyl oxitol; Ektasolve; EGME; MECS; Methyl Glycol; Methoxyethanol; Ethylene Glycol methyl ether; glycomethyl ether; methoxyhydroxyethane; methyl ethoxol; monomethyl ether of ethylene glyco
2-Methoxyethanol is a colourless, flammable, liquid, organic solvent.
Melting Point: -85.1°C
Boiling Point: 124.6°C
Specific Gravity: 0.965
Vapour Density: 2.6
2-Methoxyethanol dissolves readily in water and most organic solvents. It is flammable.
The National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) holds data for all sources of 2-Methoxyethanol emissions in Australia.
2-Methoxyethanol 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-Methoxyethanol are possible kidney damage, damaged blood cells, and damaged testes in males. Repeated exposures may cause headaches, weakness, drowsiness, personality changes and tremors. 2-Methoxyethanol 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-Methoxyethanol 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-Methoxyethanol are at risk of exposure. Consumers can be exposed to 2-Methoxyethanol by exposure to air from production and processing facilities using 2-Methoxyethanol. Consumers may also be exposed to 2-Methoxyethanol when using consumer products containing 2-Methoxyethanol, especially if there is not good ventilation. Household hard surface cleaners, Paints, varnishes, lacquers, and paint removers are some of the consumer products that may release 2-Methoxyethanol.
Workplace exposure standards
Safe Work Australia sets the workplace exposure standard for 2-methoxyethanol through the workplace exposure standards for airborne contaminants:
- Maximum eight hour time weighted average (TWA): 5 parts per million (16 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 2-methoxyethanol in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.
2-Methoxyethanol has slight short-term and slight long-term toxicity to aquatic life. Insufficient data are available to predict the effects of 2-Methoxyethanol on plants, birds or land animals. 2-Methoxyethanol is a volatile organic compound (VOC) and can contribute to photochemical smog.
Entering the environment
Industrial emissions of 2-Methoxyethanol can produce elevated, but still low level concentrations in the atmosphere around the source. Since 2-Methoxyethanol is readily broken-down in the air within days, it is not expected to travel very far with wind currents.
Where it ends up
2-Methoxyethanol evaporates when exposed to air and dissolves completely in water. Material released to the water or soil will evaporate when exposed to air. In the air it will breakdown into other chemicals, within a couple of days to a week. In the water it will be broken down by bacteria in between a week and a few months. 2-Methoxyethanol does not bind to soil well, and material that is spilled, and does not evaporate may make its way into the groundwater, which could effect borewater.
No national guidelines.
The primary stationary sources of 2-Methoxyethanol 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 the semiconductor industry. These releases are primarily to the air.
Diffuse sources, and industry sources included in diffuse emissions data
Diffuse emissions are from commercial and household painting, staining and use of varnish and lacquers. These releases are primarily to the air.
2-Methoxyethanol does not occur naturally in the environment.
2-Methoxyethanol is used as a de-icer in jet fuels, use of these fuels will release some 2-Methoxyethanol to the atmosphere.
Automotive windshield washer fluid, automotive brake fluid, floor polish, household hard surface cleaners various paint and paint-related products, paint thinners, wood stains and varnishes, polishing preparations.
Sources used in preparing this information
- ChemFinder WebServer Project (1995), 2-Methoxyethanol (accessed, May, 1999)
- Environmental Defense Fund (1998), Ethylene Glycol Monomethyl Ether: The Chemical Scorecard (accessed, May, 1999)
- Environmental Health Center, a division of the National Safety Council, Environment Writer – Chemical Backgrounders Glycol Ethers Chemical Backgrounder (March, 1999) (accessed, May, 1999)
- National Environment Protection Council (1997), Ambient Air Quality Standards and Goals (accessed, May, 1999)
- New Jersey Department of Health, Right to Know Program (1986), TRIFacts, 2-Methoxyethanol (accessed, May, 1999)
- NTP Chemical Repository, Radian Corporation, 2-Methoxyethanol (AUGUST 29, 1991) (accessed, May, 1999)
- Technical Advisory Panel (1999), Final Report to the National Environment Protection Council.
- US Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, (May 1998), Chemical Summary for 2-Methoxyethanol (accessed, May, 1999)
- US Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, (May 1998), OPPT Chemical Fact Sheet, Chemicals in the environment: 2-Methoxyethanol (accessed, May, 1999)
- Worksafe Australia (1996), Hazardous Substance 2-Methoxyethanol (accessed, May, 1999)
- Safe Work Australia, Workplace exposure standards for airborne contaminants, accessed December 2018.
- National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (2011) - Updated October 2017, accessed May 2018