2-Methoxyethanol (2-ME)

CAS Registry Number 109-86-4

What is it?

2-Methoxyethanol (2-ME), also known as ethylene glycol monomethyl ether, is a clear liquid with an ether-like odour.

Where is it found and how is it used?

2-ME is not produced in Canada. It is used mostly as a solvent and was found, at one time, in nail polish remover and all-purpose cleaners. In 2002, 2-ME was found to be imported for use mainly as an anti-icing agent in jet fuels and in chemical processing, industrial coatings and other markets, including electronics manufacturing, hydraulic fluids and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

What are its effects?

The 2003 assessment 2-ME, completed under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999), found that 2-ME is a toxic substance harmful to the health of Canadians but not harmful to the environment. Animal studies reveal a wide range of toxic effects such as malformation in the developing fetus, and adverse effects on male reproduction, blood and the immune and nervous systems.

Emissions of 2-ME from industry are not in concentrations high enough to pose risks to the environment.

What is the Government of Canada doing?

2-ME is no longer used in the vast majority of products it which it was once found. Based on the results of the assessment, 2-ME was added to the List of Toxic Substances in March 2005. In order to prevent future exposure, particularly exposure from consumer products, the Government of Canada has prohibited the manufacture, import and use of 2-ME under the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations,2012, with exemptions such as laboratory uses and in adhesives and coatings for aircraft refinishing, where occupational exposure is controlled.

Visit the Management of Toxic Substances Website for more information on 2-ME.

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