Ethylene Glycol Ethers Group

What are they?

  • There are seven substances in the Ethylene Glycol Ethers Group.
  • These substances are industrial chemicals. They are not expected to occur naturally in the environment.

How are they used?

  • In Canada, the substances assessed in the Ethylene Glycol Ethers Group are used in cosmetics and non-prescription drugs, paint and coating products, air fresheners, household cleaning products, as well as in adhesives, batteries and textiles.
  • Based on the most recent data, all seven substances are imported into Canada; in addition, four of the seven substances are manufactured in Canada.

Why is the Government of Canada assessing them?

  • Substances in the Ethylene Glycol Ethers Group were identified as priorities for assessment through the categorization of substances on the Domestic Substances List (DSL) and/or they were associated with human health concerns.
  • They are being assessed under the Chemicals Management Plan for potential risks to the environment and to human health.
  • Two additional substances (CAS RNs 111-96-6 and 112-49-2) were initially identified as belonging to the Ethylene Glycol Ethers Group; however, they are no longer being assessed as part of this group. Instead, these two substances were considered in the Ecological Risk Classification of Organic Substances and in the human health Threshold of Toxicological Concern (TTC) Science Approach Documents. In those documents, these two substances were identified as being of low concern to both human health and the environment. Proposed assessment conclusions for these two substances will be made in a separate publication for substances considered in both the Ecological Risk Classification of Organic Substances and the TTC Approaches.

How are Canadians exposed to them?

  • 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 and household cleaning products.

What are the results of the assessment?

  • The Government of Canada has conducted a science-based evaluation of substances in the Ethylene Glycol Ethers Group, called a screening assessment.
  • Screening assessments address the potential for harm to the general population of Canada and to the environment. More information on types of approaches used to address substances can be found in the Risk Assessment Toolbox fact sheet.
  • Whether the substances in the Ethylene Glycol Ethers Group pose an ecological risk as a result of potential releases of the substances to the environment was characterized using the Ecological Risk Classification of Organic Substances Approach.
  • Based on the results of the screening assessment, the Government of Canada is proposing that these seven substances are not entering the environment at levels that constitute a danger to the environment.
  • The government is also proposing that these substances are not harmful to human health at current levels of exposure.
  • The Government of Canada is therefore also proposing that these five substances are not harmful to human health at current levels of exposure.

What is the Government of Canada doing?

  • The Government of Canada published the Draft Screening Assessment for the Ethylene Glycol Ethers Group on March 4, 2017. This publication is associated with a 60-day public comment period ending on May 3, 2017.
  • If the proposed conclusion is confirmed in the final screening assessment, the Government of Canada proposes that no further action be taken on these substances.
  • Although monoglyme is not considered to be harmful to human health at current levels of exposure, this substance is considered to have a health effect of concern based on its potential developmental toxicity in laboratory studies. Therefore, it may be of concern for human health if exposures to this substance were to increase.
  • Follow-up activities to track changes in exposure and/or commercial use patterns for monoglyme are being considered.
  • Stakeholders are encouraged to provide any information relevant to this substance that may help inform the choice of tracking activity, during the 60-day public comment period on the assessment. This could include information on new or planned import, manufacture or use of the substance, if not already submitted.

What can Canadians do?

  • The health risks associated with a substance depend on its hazard (its potential to cause health effects) and the amount of substance to which a person is exposed.
  • As a general precaution, Canadians are reminded when using any product, to carefully follow safety warnings and directions and to dispose of the products appropriately.
  • Canadians who may be exposed to substances within the Ethylene Glycol Ethers Group in the workplace should consult with their employer and occupational health and safety (OHS) representative about safe handling practices, applicable laws and requirements under the OHS legislation and the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS).

 

Seven substances included in the Ethylene Glycol Ethers Group assessed by the Government of Canada
CAS RN Common Name DSL Name
110-71-4 Monoglyme [Ethylene glycol dimethyl ether] Ethane, 1,2-Dimethoxy-
111-46-6 Diethylene glycol Ethanol, 2,2'-oxybis-
111-90-0 Diethylene glycol monoethyl ether Ethanol, 2-(2-ethoxyethoxy)-
112-07-2 Ethylene glycol monobutyl ether acetate Ethanol, 2-butoxy-, acetate
112-27-6 Triethylene glycol Ethanol, 2,2'-[1,2-ethanediylbis(oxy)]bis-
112-34-5 Diethylene glycol monobutyl ether Ethanol, 2-(2-butoxyethoxy)-
112-60-7 Tetraethylene glycol Ethanol, 2,2'-[oxybis(2,1-ethanediyloxy)]bis-
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