DEGME - information sheet

2-(2-methoxyethoxy) ethanol (DEGME)
CAS Registry Number 111-77-3

Updated November 25, 2017:

The Final Screening Assessment for DEGME was published on March 7, 2009 under the Challenge initiative of the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP). The assessment is summarized in this information sheet (formerly public summary) and has not changed. The section in this information sheet entitled "Preventive actions and reducing risk" communicates updates in risk management activities, namely:

On this page

Overview

  • The Government of Canada conducted a science-based evaluation of DEGME, called a screening assessment to address the potential for harm to Canadians and to the environment.
  • Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999), the risk posed by a substance is determined by considering both its hazardous properties (its potential to cause adverse human health or ecological effects) and the amount of exposure there is to people or the environment. A substance may have hazardous properties; however, the risk to human health or to the environment may be low depending upon the level of exposure.
  • As a result of this screening assessment, DEGME was concluded to be harmful to human health but not to the environment.

About this substance

  • 2-(2-Methoxyethoxy) ethanol, also referred to as DEGME, is an industrial chemical. It was assessed as part of Batch 3 of the Challenge initiative of the CMP.
  • Industry data collected by the Government indicates that DEMGE was not manufactured in Canada, but was imported into the country. More information on the data collected by the Government can be found in the specific information gathering initiatives
  • At the time of the assessment, DEGME was used as an additive in jet fuel. It also had uses in various products available to consumers, including as a solvent in paints, in floor care products, in brake fluid, and in cosmetics.

Exposure of Canadians and the environment

  • The assessment indicated that Canadians may be exposed to DEGME from its use in products available to consumers, such as floor polish, sealants, caulking, latex wall paint, and floor cleaners. Cosmetics were also identified as a source of exposure to DEGME. Current exposures are expected to be lower from the time the assessment was published in 2009, given that risk management measures are in place.  
  • Exposure of the environment to DEGME was considered to be low.

Key health and ecological effects (hazard)

  • Available information indicated that DEGME may have adverse developmental and reproductive health effects. It was also associated with effects on blood. These were considered to be the important or “critical” effects used for characterizing the risk to human health in this assessment.
  • DEGME was considered to be a substance with low ecological hazard.

Risk assessment outcomes

  • To determine the potential for DEGME to cause ecological harm, a risk quotient analysis was done. As a result, it was found that industrial releases of DEGME were unlikely to cause harm to aquatic organisms.
  • Considering all the information presented, it was determined that DEGME does not pose a risk to the environment.
  • For the human health assessment, a comparison was made between levels to which Canadians may be exposed to DEGME and levels associated with health effects. It was determined that DEGME may pose a risk to human health.
  • The Government of Canada published the Final Screening Assessment for DEGME on March 7, 2009.

Screening assessment conclusions

  • As a result of this assessment, the Government concluded that DEGME is not entering the environment at levels that are harmful to the environment.
  • The Government also concluded that DEGME is harmful to human health.
  • These conclusions were based on the screening assessment conducted in 2009.

Preventive actions and reducing risk

  • The Proposed Risk Management Approach for DEGME was published on March 7, 2009 and was associated with a 60-day public comment period.
  • DEGME (as ethanol, 2-(2-methoxyethoxy)-) was added to Schedule 1 of CEPA, 1999, also called the List of Toxic Substances.
  • In March 2011, DEGME was added to Health Canada’s List of Prohibited and Restricted Cosmetic Ingredients (referred to as the Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist) as a prohibited substance. The Hotlist is used to communicate that certain substances may not be compliant with the general prohibition found in section 16 of the Food and Drugs Act or provisions of the Cosmetic Regulations.
  • In October 2012, Significant New Activity provisions of CEPA 1999 were applied to DEGME. The SNAc provisions trigger an obligation for a person (individual or corporation) proposing to use, import or manufacture a substance for a significant new activity to submit prescribed information to the Government. The Government then assesses the substance in relation to the proposed new activity for potential risks to human health or the environment. If risks are identified, the Government may impose measures to manage them.
  • A Code of Practice for DEGME was published in November 2016 after a 60-day public comment period on the draft document. The objective for the Code is to further protect human health by reducing the concentration of DEGME in consumer products that are surface coating materials.
  • Following publication of the Code of Practice for DEGME, a notice of intent to amend the SNAc provisions for DEGME was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 151, No. 47 on November 25, 2017. These amendments align the SNAc provisions with the Code of Practice and are also the result of the SNAc Review initiative to ensure that the application of SNAc provisions are in step with current information, policies, and approaches.
  • Further information and updates on risk management actions can be found in the CMP Risk Management Actions table and the Two Year Risk Management Activities and Consultations Schedule.

Important to know

  • DEGME may be found in certain products available to consumers. Canadians should follow any safety warnings and directions on product labels and dispose of products responsibly.
  • Visit Hazardcheck for information on chemical safety in the home.
  • Canadians who may be exposed to DEGME in the workplace can consult with their employer and an occupational health and safety (OHS) representative about safe handling practices, applicable laws, and requirements under OHS legislation and the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS).
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