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CHEMINFO Record Number: 65
CCOHS Chemical Name: Diethylene glycol monoethyl ether

Diethylene glycol ethyl ether
Diglycol monoethyl ether
2-(2-Ethoxyethoxy) ethanol
Ethylene diglycol monoethyl ether
Ether monoéthylique du diéthylène glycol

Chemical Name French: Éther de diéthylèneglycol monoéthylique
Chemical Name Spanish: Dietilenglicol monoetil éter

Trade Name(s):
Dowanol DE
Ethyl Carbitol

CAS Registry Number: 111-90-0
RTECS Number(s): KK8750000
EU EINECS/ELINCS Number: 203-919-7
Chemical Family: Aliphatic ether alcohol / aliphatic glycol ether / aliphatic diglycol ether / diethylene glycol ether / diethylene glycol monoether
Molecular Formula: C6-H14-O3
Structural Formula: CH3-CH2-O-CH2-CH2-O-CH2-CH2-OH


Appearance and Odour:
Colourless liquid with a mild, pleasant fruity odour; hygroscopic (absorbs moisture from the air).

Odour Threshold:
Less than 0.21 ppm (absolute perception limit); 1.10 ppm (100% recognition).(4)

Warning Properties:
Insufficient information for evaluation.

Commercial products may contain an appreciable amount of ethylene glycol.

Uses and Occurrences:
Solvent for dyes, varnishes, enamels, resins, wood stains, lacquers, thinners, cosmetics, toiletries, and nitrocellulose; mutual solvent for mineral oil-soap and mineral oil-sulfonated oil mixtures; diluent for brake fluids; used in textile printing and processing.


Colourless liquid with a mild, fruity odour. Hygroscopic. COMBUSTIBLE LIQUID AND VAPOUR. Mild central nervous system depressant. May cause headache, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, and incoordination. EYE IRRITANT. Causes moderate eye irritation.


Effects of Short-Term (Acute) Exposure

Diethylene glycol monoethyl ether (DEGEE) does not tend to form vapours at normal room temperatures and appears to have a low acute toxicity in animal tests. Therefore, no short-term health effects are expected unless the material is heated or mists are formed. In severe cases, effects might be like those described for ingestion exposures, below. No adverse effects on humans have been reported.

Skin Contact:
Not reported to cause irritation or sensitization. Although allergic reactions to glycols are rare, contact sensitivity to some glycols has been reported.
Can be absorbed through the skin, but exposure must be severe before health effects would be expected.

Eye Contact:
The liquid is a moderate irritant based on animal information. There is no human information available.

One severe case of poisoning from ingestion (about 300 mL of 47% DEGEE and 0.2% methanol) has been reported with symptoms similar to those of alcohol intoxication. Central nervous system depression, respiratory depression, slight kidney injury, thirst, metabolic acidosis and cyanosis (bluish colouring of the skin) were observed.(1) Large or repeated amounts may affect kidney function. Ingestion is not a typical route of occupational exposure.

Effects of Long-Term (Chronic) Exposure

No adverse human experience has been reported.

SKIN: Can be absorbed through the skin in toxic amounts if contact is extensive and prolonged.


No human or animal information is available

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has not evaluated the carcinogenicity of this chemical.

The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has no listing for this chemical.

The US National Toxicology Program (NTP) has not listed this chemical in its report on carcinogens.

Teratogenicity and Embryotoxicity:
No human information is available. See animal toxicity data. The available evidence suggests that most diethylene glycol ethers do not cause reproductive effects. There is some evidence that the monomethyl ether causes reproductive effects in animals. See CHEMINFO no. 50E for details.

Reproductive Toxicity:
No human information is available. DEGEE had no adverse effects on fertility or reproductive performance in animal tests.(2,4) There have been reports of testicular effects in animal studies, but these effects have not been reported in more recent studies.

No information is available

Toxicologically Synergistic Materials:
Ethylene glycol increased the toxicity of DEGEE in an animal study.(1)

Potential for Accumulation:
None. Ethers of diethylene glycol do not appear to be metabolized to oxalic acid.


If symptoms occur, remove source of contamination or move victim to fresh air. Obtain medical advice immediately.

Skin Contact:
If a large area is contaminated, as quickly as possible, flush contaminated area with lukewarm, gently running water for at least 5 minutes, or until the chemical is removed. Obtain medical advice immediately. Completely decontaminate clothing, shoes and leather goods before re-use or discard.

Eye Contact:
Immediately flush the contaminated eye(s) with lukewarm, gently flowing water for 20 minutes or until the chemical is removed, while holding the eyelid(s) open. Take care not to rinse contaminated water into the unaffected eye or onto the face. Obtain medical attention immediately.

Never give anything by mouth if victim is rapidly losing consciousness, is unconscious or convulsing. Have victim rinse mouth thoroughly with water. DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING. Have victim drink 240 to 300 ml (8 to 10 oz.) of water to dilute material in stomach. Obtain medical attention immediately.

First Aid Comments:
Provide general supportive measures (comfort, warmth, rest). Consult a doctor and/or the nearest Poison Control Centre for all exposures except minor instances of inhalation or skin contact. All first aid procedures should be periodically reviewed by a doctor familiar with the material and its conditions of use in the particular workplace.


Flash Point:
96 deg C (205 deg F) (open cup) (1,4); 91 deg C (196 deg F) (closed cup) (6)

Lower Flammable (Explosive) Limit (LFL/LEL):
1.2% (6)

Upper Flammable (Explosive) Limit (UFL/UEL):
23.5% at 182 deg C (360 deg F) (6)

Autoignition (Ignition) Temperature:
204 deg C (400 deg F) (6)

Sensitivity to Mechanical Impact:
Probably not sensitive. Stable material.

Sensitivity to Static Charge:
No information on electrical conductivity is available. It is probably not sensitive, since it has a high flash point.

Fire Hazard Summary:
Combustible liquid. Can form explosive mixtures with air at, or above, 91 deg C.

Extinguishing Media:
Alcohol foam, dry chemical, carbon dioxide, water spray or fog.

Fire Fighting Instructions:
Water spray or fog can be used to extinguish fires involving diethylene glycol monoethyl ether (DEGEE), since it can be cooled below its flash point. Water spray can be used to absorb heat, keep containers cool and protect exposed material. If a leak or spill has not ignited, use water spray to disperse the vapours and to protect personnel attempting to stop a leak. Water spray may be used to flush spills away from ignition sources.

Protection of Fire Fighters:
DEGEE is only slightly hazardous to health. Firefighters may enter the area if positive pressure self-contained breathing apparatus (NIOSH approved or equivalent) and full Bunker Gear is worn.


NFPA - Health: 2 - Intense or continued (but not chronic) exposure could cause temporary incapacitation or possible residual injury.
NFPA - Flammability: 2 - Must be moderately heated or exposed to relatively high ambient temperatures before ignition can occur.
NFPA - Instability: 0 - Normally stable, even under fire conditions, and not reactive with water.


Molecular Weight: 134.18

Conversion Factor:
1 ppm = 5.48 mg/m3; 1 mg/m3 = 0.182 ppm at 25 deg C (calculated)

Physical State: Liquid
Melting Point: -76 deg C (-105 deg F) (freezing point) (1)
Boiling Point: 202 deg C (296 deg F) (1,5)
Relative Density (Specific Gravity): 0.990 at 20 deg C (water = 1) (5)
Solubility in Water: Soluble in all proportions.
Solubility in Other Liquids: Soluble in all proportions with organic solvents such as acetone, benzene, chloroform, ethanol, ether.
Coefficient of Oil/Water Distribution (Partition Coefficient): Log P(oct) = -0.79; Log P(oct) = -0.93 (calculated).(5)
pH Value: Not available
Vapour Density: 4.63 (air = 1)
Vapour Pressure: 0.0187 kPa (0.14 mm Hg) at 25 deg C (1,4)
Saturation Vapour Concentration: 184 ppm at 25 deg C (calculated)
Evaporation Rate: No specific data -- expected to be low
Critical Temperature: Not available

Other Physical Properties:
VISCOSITY-DYNAMIC: 3.85 centipoises (3.85 mPa.s) (4)


Normally stable

Hazardous Polymerization:
Does not occur

Incompatibility - Materials to Avoid:

NOTE: Chemical reactions that could result in a hazardous situation (e.g. generation of flammable or toxic chemicals, fire or detonation) are listed here. Many of these reactions can be done safely if specific control measures (e.g. cooling of the reaction) are in place. Although not intended to be complete, an overview of important reactions involving common chemicals is provided to assist in the development of safe work practices.

None reported

Hazardous Decomposition Products:
None reported

Conditions to Avoid:
Temperatures above 91 deg C

Corrosivity to Metals:
Not corrosive


LD50 (oral, rat): 5540-9740 mg/kg (1)
LD50 (oral, guinea pig): 3670-4970 mg/kg (1,5)
LD50 (oral, mouse): 6580 mg/kg (1)
LD50 (oral, rabbit): 3620 mg/kg (1)

LD50 (dermal, rat or mouse): 6000 mg/kg

Eye Irritation:

Diethylene glycol monoethyl ether (DEGEE) is a moderate eye irritant.

Application of 0.1 mL of DEGEE produced moderate irritation in rabbits (maximum scores at any time: corneal opacity: 0.2/4; iritis: 1.0/2; conjunctival redness: 2.3/4 and chemosis: 1.8/4). Minor irritation persisted in one eye through day 7. All eyes had healed by day 14.(8) In another study, 0.1 mL of undiluted DEGEE was applied to the eyes of 6 rabbits. The researchers concluded that DEGEE was irritating (total scores 5/44 at 2 hours; 7/44 at 24 hours; 3/44 at 72 hours; 1 /44 at 7 days and 0/44 at 11 days).(9) In a non-standard test, application of 0.5 cc of 8% to greater than 30% DEGEE produced slight irritation in rabbits.(10) When applied to the eyes of cats, DEGEE resulted in immediate tearing and vigorous rubbing of the eyes, whereas in rabbits, the response was less vigorous and the material appeared to remain longer in the conjunctival sac. Cats only exhibited slight conjunctival reddening for a day or two, whereas rabbits have been known occasionally to develop conjunctivitis with discharge, iritis, and temporary corneal opacification, with return to normal in a week or two.(11, unconfirmed)

Skin Irritation:

500 mg; 24-hr exposure -- mild dermal irritant. in rabbits. DEGEE was not irritating to the skin of rabbits even upon prolonged or repeated contact.

Effects of Short-Term (Acute) Exposure:

Rabbits, cats, guinea pigs and mice were not injured by 12 daily exposures to essentially saturated atmospheres.

Skin Contact:
DEGEE (doses 0.1, 0.3, 1.0 and 3.0 g/kg/day) was applied under a cover to rabbit skin 5 times/week for 3 months. At the doses of 1.0 and 3.0 g/kg/day, severe to minor kidney damage was noted. No effects were observed at 0.3 g/kg/day.(1)

Effects of Long-Term (Chronic) Exposure:

Several oral studies with DEGEE have provided clear evidence of adverse effects to the kidneys and, to a lesser extent, the livers of a number of species. There has not been clear or consistent evidence of effects on the testes, blood or blood-forming system.(1,2) There have been early reports of testicular effects, but these effects have not been reported in more recent studies.(1,2) It was shown in a 2 year feeding study with rats, in which 2 grades of DEGEE (containing either 0.2 or 29.5% ethylene glycol) were used, that the presence of a high level of ethylene glycol increases the toxicity of DEGEE considerably.(1)

Teratogenicity, Embryotoxicity and/or Fetotoxicity:
Oral, dermal and inhalation studies using pregnant rats have not revealed any embryotoxic, fetotoxic or teratogenic effects nor any effects on fertility.(2)

Reproductive Toxicity:
In a study using a continuous breeding protocol with mice, DEGEE was shown to have no adverse effects on fertility and reproductive performance, despite a 34% decrease in sperm mobility in some males at 2.5% DEGEE.(4)


Selected Bibliography:
(1) Clayton, G.D.; Clayton, F.E., eds. Patty's industrial hygiene and toxicology. 3rd revised edition. Vol. 2C : toxicology. New York, NY; Toronto, Ontario : John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1982. p. 3958-3963
(2) ECETOC technical report no. 17. The toxicology of glycol ethers and its relevance to man : an up-dating of ECETOC technical report no. 4. Brussels, Belgium : European Chemical Industry Ecology and Toxicology Centre, April 19, 1985
(3) Final report on the safety assessment of butylene glycol, hexylene glycol, ethoxydiglycol, and dipropylene glycol. Journal of the American College of Toxicology. Vol. 4, no. 5 (1985). p. 223-248
(4) HSDB record for diethylene glycol monoethyl ether. Last revision date: 91/11/06
(5) Verschueren, K. Handbook of environmental data on organic chemicals. 2nd ed. Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1983. p. 525-526
(6) Fire protection guide to hazardous materials. 13th ed. Edited by A.B. Spencer, et al. National Fire Protection Association, 2002. NFPA 325
(7) Forsberg, K., et al. Quick selection guide to chemical protective clothing. 4th ed. Van Nostrand Reinhold, 2002
(8) Bushy Run Research Center. Carbitol Solvent, low gravity. Acute toxicity and primary irritancy studies. Union Carbide, 1984. NTIS/OTS 0516797.
(9) Conquet, P.H., et al. Evaluation of ocular irritation in the rabbit: Objective versus subjective assessment. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. Vol. 39 (1977). p. 129-139
(10) Cranch, A.G., et al. External contact with monoethyl ether of diethylene glycol (Carbitol solvent). Archives of Dermatology and Syphilology. Vol. 45 (1942). p. 553-559
(11) Grant, W. M. et al. Toxicology of the Eye. 4th Ed. Charles C Thomas, 1993

Information on chemicals reviewed in the CHEMINFO database is drawn from a number of publicly available sources. A list of general references used to compile CHEMINFO records is available in the database Help.

Review/Preparation Date: 1993-03-12

Revision Indicators:
TDG 1994-02-01
Fire fighting instructions 1995-01-01
Conditions to avoid 1995-01-01
Protective equipment 1995-09-01
Respiratory guidelines 1995-09-01
EU number 1995-09-01
EU class 1995-09-01
US transport 1995-09-01
LEL 1995-09-01
Sensitivity to static charge 1995-10-01
Handling 1995-10-01
Sampling 1996-01-01
Resistance of materials 1998-05-01
WEEL 2001-03-01
Toxicological info 2002-12-05
Bibliography 2002-12-05
Short-term eye contact 2002-12-05
WHMIS detailed classification 2002-12-05
WHMIS proposed classification 2002-12-05
WHMIS health effects 2002-12-05
Emergency overview 2002-12-05
First aid eye 2002-12-05
Handling 2002-12-09
Bibliography 2003-03-25
NFPA (flammability) 2003-03-25
NFPA (health) 2003-03-25
Flash point 2003-03-25
UFL/UEL 2003-03-25
PEL-TWA transitional 2003-10-21
Resistance of materials for PPE 2004-03-15

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