Methoxyethanol acetate is used as a solvent for surface coatings such as paints, coatings, varnishes, lacquers for paper and leather, and as a solvent for acetate adhesives. It is also used in textile printing, photographic film production, and is a component of nail polish and dry cleaning treatments. It has wide application as a solvent for various adhesives, glues, gums, waxes and oils.
Substance name: 2-Methoxyethanol acetate
CASR number: 110-49-6
Molecular formula: C5H10O3
Synonyms: 2-Methoxyethanol acetate, Acetic acid 2-methyl ester, Ethylene glycol methyl acetate, Ethylene glycol methyl ether acetate, Ethylene glycol monomethyl acetate, Methyl cellosolve acetate, Glycol ether em acetate, Glycol monomethyl em acetate, Mecsac, Methyl glycol acetate, Methyl glycol monoacetate, Methyl Cellosolve acetate.
Clear colourless liquid, evaporates into the air.
Melting Point: -65°C
Boiling Point: 145°C
Specific Gravity: 1.009
Vapour Density: 4.07
Flammable, dissolves in water, oils, ether and common organic solvents. Mild ether-like odour.
The National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) holds data for all sources of 2-Methoxyethanol acetate emissions in Australia.
Exposure to vapour can cause irritation to the eyes, nose mouth, throat and lungs. Prolonged exposure to concentrated vapour can result in dizziness, headache, nausea and unconsciousness. It has effects on the blood, central nervous system as well as the liver and kidneys. Test results indicate that in high concentrations it can have severe effects on human reproduction and growth. It will impede development of the human foetus and retard growth. Exposure to a high concentration can have severe effects.
Entering the body
Methoxyethanol acetate can be swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Breathing air containing the vapour is the most common means of absorbing the compound. It can be swallowed or readily absorbed through the skin. Small amounts are present on clothing that has been dry-cleaned, on newly painted or glued surfaces on household fittings or fixtures.
Most people are exposed indoors to very low amounts from contact from newly glued, some painted or varnished surfaces and clothing which has been subjected to specialised dry-cleaning techniques. People living near industries that produce or use methoxyethanol acetate as a major component of their manufacturing or production process could be exposed to the compound from exhaust fumes and odours derived from the work place.
Workplace exposure standards
Safe Work Australia sets the workplace exposure standard for 2-methoxyethyl acetate through the workplace exposure standards for airborne contaminants:
- Maximum eight hour time weighted average (TWA): 5 parts per million (24 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-methoxyethyl acetate in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.
Methoxyethanol acetate can have an acute toxic effect on aquatic life and is rapidly absorbed, inhaled or ingested by humans by direct contact with skin, swallowing or breathing in vapour.
Entering the environment
Methoxyethanol acetate is stable in water but will readily react with many other organic or acid compounds. Its high solubility in most liquids and moderate rate of evaporation at normal temperatures means that it can persist in the environment for some time.
Where it ends up
It enters the environment when liquid waste is disposed from production plants that use methoxyethanol acetate for making paint, varnish or adhesives products. It can dissolve in water and readily enter the groundwater. It will form reactive peroxide compounds when exposed to air and water in the atmosphere and these will break down in contact with organic and other common substances.
No national guidelines.
Chemical plants or facilities producing, using or handling paint, paint products, surface coatings, adhesives, varnishes, dry cleaning fluids. (Emissions mainly to air.)
Diffuse sources, and industry sources included in diffuse emissions data
People may be exposed to it close to garments that have been recently dry-cleaned. It may be present in vapour from solvents, paints, surface coatings and varnishes. It is a solvent in some glues and adhesives used for bonding floor coverings and waterproof surfaces fitted to household fittings and fixtures.
Methoxyethanol acetate does not occur in the natural environment.
Present in small amounts in fittings and fixtures in some parts of motor vehicles.
Used in household solvent products, adhesives, paints and paint products and dry cleaning products. These and other products may contain Methoxyethanol acetate as a component for coating and dissolving glues and adhesives, or as a solvent for surface coatings of paints and varnishes.
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.
- ChemFinder WebServer Project (1995) (accessed, 30 May, 1999)
- Cornell University, Planning Design and Construction, MSDS (accessed, 30 May, 1999)
- Environmental Defense Fund (1998), Consumer Products, Chemical Profile (accessed, 30 May, 1999)
- National Environment Protection Council (1998), National Environment Protection Measure for the National Pollutant Inventory. (accessed, March, 1999)
- 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.
- United States National Toxicology Program. Chemical Status Report. NTP Chemtrack System. Research Triangle Park, NC. November 6, 1990. (accessed, 30 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