Ethylene Glycol Ethers Group - information sheet
- Final Screening Assessment for Ethylene Glycol Ethers Group (published on September 1, 2018). Public comments received on the draft screening assessment were considered and a summary of the comments with Government responses was published.
- Associated notice: Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 152, No. 35 – September 1, 2018
On this page
- About these substances
- Human and ecological exposures
- Key health and ecological effects (hazard)
- Risk assessment outcomes
- Preventive actions and risk reduction
- Related resources
- The Government of Canada conducts risk assessments of substances under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) to determine whether they present or may present a risk to human health or to the environment.
- The risks posed by a substance are determined by both its hazardous properties (potential to cause adverse human health or ecological effects) and the amount or extent of exposure to people or the environment.
- When needed, the Government implements risk management measures under CEPA 1999 and other federal acts to help prevent or reduce potential harm.
- The ecological hazard and exposure potentials of the 7 substances in this group were classified using the Ecological Risk Classification of Organic Substances (ERC) Approach.
- These substances may be associated with health effects; however, the risk to human health was determined to be low at levels of exposure considered in the assessment. The Government concluded that none of these 7 substances are harmful to human health or the environment.
About these substances
- The screening assessment focused on 7 of 9 substances referred to collectively as the Ethylene Glycol Ethers Group under the third phase of the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP). The summary of publications for the Ethylene Glycol Ethers Group includes details on the substance names and CAS RNs.
- The substances addressed in the assessment are monoglyme [also referred to as ethylene glycol dimethyl ether (EGDME)], diethylene glycol (DEG), triethylene glycol (TEG), tetraethylene glycol (TTEG), diethylene glycol monoethyl ether (DEGEE), ethylene glycol monobutyl ether acetate (EGBEA) and diethylene glycol monobutyl ether (DEGBE).
- Two other substances in the group were determined to be of low concern to both human health and the environment, through other approaches. Conclusions for diethylene glycol dimethyl ether (referred to as diglyme; CAS RN 111-96-6) and triethylene glycol dimethyl ether (referred to as triglyme; CAS RN 112-49-2) are provided in the Final Screening Assessment for Substances Identified as Being of Low Concern using the Ecological Risk Classification of Organic Substances and the Threshold of Toxicological Concern (TTC)-based Approach for Certain Substances.
- These substances are not expected to occur naturally in the environment.
- According to information gathered by the Government, in Canada, these substances are commercially produced and used in a variety of products available to consumers, including cosmetics and non-prescription drugs, paint and coating products, air fresheners, adhesives, batteries, and textiles. These substances are mainly used as solvents and/or fragrance ingredients.
Human and ecological exposures
- Exposure of Canadians to these 7 substances from air, water, soil or food is expected to be minimal.
- Canadians may be exposed to these substances from the use of products available to consumers, such as cosmetics and non-prescription drugs, paint and coating products, air fresheners or household cleaning products.
- According to the information considered under the ERC Approach, all 7 substances were identified as having low ecological exposure potential.
Key health and ecological effects (hazard)
- To help inform the health effects characterization in the screening assessment, international reports and other scientific literature were reviewed. Available information indicates that these substances may have adverse effects on organs, such as the liver and kidney.
- There were limited health effects (hazard) data for some of these substances; therefore, a comparative approach using similar chemicals, called read-across, was used for assessing potential health effects.
- For monoglyme, potential developmental effects were identified as the critical effects for characterizing the risk to human health. Potential effects on testes, blood, thymus and adrenal glands were also identified for this substance.
- According to information considered under the ERC Approach, all 7 substances were identified as having a low ecological hazard potential.
Risk assessment outcomes
- Based upon a comparison of levels to which Canadians may be exposed to these substances and levels associated with health effects, the risk to human health from these 7 substances is considered to be low.
- Based upon the outcome of the ERC Approach, these 7 substances are considered unlikely to be causing ecological harm.
Screening assessment conclusions
- The Government concluded that these 7 substances are not harmful to human health at levels of exposure considered in the assessment, and that these 7 substances are not entering the environment at levels that are harmful.
Preventive actions and risk reduction
- Although monoglyme is not considered to be harmful to human health or the environment at levels of exposure considered in the assessment, this substance is considered to have health effects of concern. There may be a concern if exposures were to increase.
- Therefore, the Government published an order amending the Domestic Substances List (DSL) to apply Significant New Activity (SNAc) provisions of CEPA 1999 to monoglyme, on August 3, 2022.
- This requires that the Government be notified of certain proposed new activities related to monoglyme and that the new activity be assessed for potential risk to human health and the environment before being undertaken.
- The order outlines the definition of a significant new activity in relation to monoglyme, as well as the information that needs to be provided to the Government for assessment before the new activity is undertaken.
- The SNAc order also applies to the 2 related substances, diglyme and triglyme, concluded in a different screening assessment.
Where to find updates
- Updates on actions can be found on the timeline for the Ethylene Glycol Ethers Group. Also, information on SNAc provisions applied to substances can be found in the SNAc publications dataset.
- Additional information on the risk management of substances addressed under the CMP is available.
- Use the Substances Search tool to find substances that are referenced in certain legislative or regulatory instruments or on Government of Canada websites.
- These 7 substances can be found in certain products available to consumers. Canadians should follow any safety warnings and directions related to the product and dispose of products responsibly.
- Visit Do it for a Healthy Home for information on chemical safety in and around the home.
- The screening assessment focused on potential risks from exposure of the general population of Canada, rather than occupational exposure. Hazards related to chemicals used in the workplace are defined within the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS). For information concerning workplace health and safety and what steps to take in the workplace, Canadians should consult their employer or the Occupational Health and Safety Regulator in their jurisdiction.
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