2-(2-Methoxyethoxy) ethanol (DEGME)

CAS Registry Number 111-77-3

What is it?

  • 2-(2-Methoxyethoxy) ethanol, also known as DEGME, is an industrial chemical, which may also be found in some consumer products. In cosmetic products, the chemical may be called methoxydiglycol.

How is it used?

  • DEGME is used in various applications and products including as an additive in jet fuel, as a solvent in paints, in floor care products, in brake fluid, and in some skin creams and cleansers.
  • Based on the most recent data available, DEGME is not manufactured in Canada but is imported into Canada.

Why did the Government of Canada assess it?

  • DEGME was identified as a potential concern for human health based on its classification by an international organization as a substance that may cause harm to the developing fetus, and based on what was believed to be a high potential for exposure to Canadians.

How are Canadians exposed to it?

  • Canadians may be exposed to DEGME as a result of its use in floor polish, sealants, caulking, latex wall paint and floor cleaners.
  • A small number of cosmetic products currently sold in Canada also contain DEGME.

What is the Government of Canada doing?

  • The Government of Canada has conducted a science-based evaluation of DEGME, called a screening assessment.
  • The Government of Canada has determined that DEGME is considered to be harmful to human health.
  • Although Canadians' exposure is currently considered to be low, the Government of Canada is taking action so that exposure remains low.
  • The Government of Canada will prevent its use in cosmetics by proposing to add DEGME to the Cosmetic Ingredient "Hotlist".
  • The Government of Canada will also investigate whether action is required to limit DEGME in latex paints, sealants, caulking, and floor polish and cleaners.
  • The final screening assessment and proposed risk management approach were published on March 7, 2009. The proposed risk management approach will be subject to a 60-day public comment period from March 7 to May 6, 2009.

What should Canadians do?

  • Canadians should always read and follow safety instructions provided on product labels, particularly the advice to use in a well-ventilated area and to wear protective clothing (when applicable).
  • If Canadians are concerned about using products containing DEGME they can review the list of ingredients to determine if it is found in the product. It is listed on the cosmetic label as methoxydiglycol.
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