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CHEMINFO Record Number: 50
CCOHS Chemical Name: Diethylene glycol monomethyl ether

Diethylene glycol methyl ether
Diglycol monomethyl ether
Ethylene diglycol monomethyl ether
Ether monomethylique du diethylene glycol

Chemical Name French: Éther de diéthylèneglycol monométhylique
Chemical Name Spanish: Eter monometílico de dietilenglicol

Trade Name(s):
Dowanol DM
Methyl Carbitol

CAS Registry Number: 111-77-3
RTECS Number(s): KL6125000
EU EINECS/ELINCS Number: 203-906-6
Chemical Family: Aliphatic ether alcohol / aliphatic glycol ether / aliphatic diglycol ether / diethylene glycol ether / diethylene glycol monoether
Molecular Formula: C5-H12-O3
Structural Formula: CH3-O-CH2-CH2-O-CH2-CH2-OH


Appearance and Odour:
Colourless liquid with a mild, pleasant odour. Hygroscopic (absorbs moisture from the air).(23,24)

Odour Threshold:
No information available.

Warning Properties:
Information not available for evaluation.

Uses and Occurrences:
Solvent for wood stains, lacquers, thinners, quick-drying varnishes, stamp pad inks, and textile dye pastes; component of hydraulic brake fluids; coalescing agent for latex paint; jet fuel additive; in fragrances. Used as an excellent coupling agent for preparing miscible organic aqueous solutions.(15,23)


Colourless, hygroscopic liquid with a mild, pleasant odour. COMBUSTIBLE LIQUID AND VAPOUR. SUSPECT REPRODUCTIVE HAZARD - may cause teratogenic, embryotoxic and fetotoxic effects.


Effects of Short-Term (Acute) Exposure

There have been no reports of harmful effects in humans following inhalation exposure. Diethylene glycol monomethyl ether (DEGME) does not easily form vapours at normal room temperatures and has low short- term toxicity in animal tests. Therefore, no short-term health effects are expected unless the material is heated or high concentrations of mists are formed. In severe cases, effects of central nervous system (CNS) depression, such as nausea, dizziness and vomiting, may be experienced.

Skin Contact:
DEGME is probably only a mild skin irritant, based on animal and human information. Application of 20% DEGME in petrolatum in a closed patch test for 48 hours caused no irritation in 25 human volunteers.(15)

Eye Contact:
DEGME is probably a mild eye irritant, based on animal information. There is no human information available.

No cases of ingestion have been reported, but early symptoms are expected to be similar to those of alcohol intoxication. Headache, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and, in severe cases, unconsciousness and death may result.

Effects of Long-Term (Chronic) Exposure

No harmful effects in humans have been reported.

SKIN SENSITIZATION: DEGME at a concentration of 20% in petrolatum caused no sensitization in 25 volunteers.(15)


There is no human or animal information 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:
There is no human information available. Fetotoxicity (reduced weight gain), embryotoxicity (resorptions) and/or teratogenicity (skeletal and/or visceral malformations) have been observed in rats and rabbits following oral or dermal administration, in the absence of maternal toxicity.

Reproductive Toxicity:
There is no human information available. Reduced testicular weight and atrophy of the seminiferous tubules have been observed in male rats fed high oral doses. No effects on fertility have been reported.

There is no information available.

Toxicologically Synergistic Materials:
There is no information available.

Potential for Accumulation:
No specific information is available. DEGME is not expected to accumulate. It may be absorbed by the inhalation, oral and dermal routes of exposure. DGME may be metabolized to 2-methoxymethanol, ethylene glycol, 2-(methoxyethoxy)acetaldehyde, 2-(methoxyethoxy)acetic acid and 2-methoxyacetic acid. It was suggested that the reproductive effects of DGME are most likely due to the metabolic formation of 2- methoxyacetic acid.(1,9)


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

Skin Contact:
Avoid direct contact. Wear chemical protective clothing, if necessary. As quickly as possible, flush contaminated area with lukewarm, gently running water for at least 5 minutes, or until the chemical is removed. Under running water, remove contaminated clothing, shoes, and leather goods (e.g. watchbands, belts). Obtain medical advice immediately. Completely decontaminate clothing, shoes and leather goods before re-use or discard.

Eye Contact:
Avoid direct contact. Wear chemical protective gloves, if necessary. Immediately flush the contaminated eye(s) with lukewarm, gently flowing water for at least 5 minutes, or until the chemical is removed, while holding the eyelid(s) open. If irritation persists, obtain medical advice 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:
83 deg C (181.4 deg F) (closed cup) (24); 86 deg C (186 deg F) (closed cup) (21); 90 deg C (194 deg F) (closed cup) (25)

Lower Flammable (Explosive) Limit (LFL/LEL):
1.38% at 135 deg C (21,24); 1.5-1.6% (1,25)

Upper Flammable (Explosive) Limit (UFL/UEL):
9.5% (1); 16.1% (29); 22.7% at 167 deg C (21,24)

Autoignition (Ignition) Temperature:
215 deg C (419 deg F) (25); 221 deg C (430 deg F) (21,24); 240 deg C (465 deg F) (26)

Sensitivity to Mechanical Impact:
Probably not sensitive. Normally stable material.

Sensitivity to Static Charge:
Information not available. Probably will not accumulate static discharge. The electrical conductivity of glycol ethers is high.

Fire Hazard Summary:
Combustible liquid. Can form explosive mixtures with air at, or above, 83 deg C. Closed containers may rupture violently when heated.

Extinguishing Media:
Dry chemical powder, carbon dioxide, alcohol foam, polymer foam, water spray or fog.(21,24)

Fire Fighting Instructions:
Evacuate area and fight fire from a safe distance or protected location. Approach fire from upwind to avoid hazardous vapours and toxic decomposition products.
If possible, isolate materials not yet involved in the fire, and move containers from fire area if this can be done without risk, and protect personnel. Otherwise, fire-exposed containers or tanks should be cooled by application of hose streams. Application should begin as soon as possible and should concentrate on any unwetted portions of the container. If this is not possible, use unmanned monitor nozzles and immediately evacuate the area.
If a leak or spill has not ignited, use water spray in large quantities 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. Solid streams of water may be ineffective and spread material.
For a massive fire in a large area, use unmanned hose holder or monitor nozzles. If this is not possible, withdraw from fire area and allow fire to burn. Stay away from ends of tanks. Withdraw immediately in case of rising sound from venting safety device or any discolouration of tank due to fire.
Diethylene glycol monomethyl ether is a suspect reproductive hazard (embryotoxic/teratogenic). Do not enter without wearing specialized protective equipment suitable for the situation. Firefighter's normal protective equipment (Bunker Gear) will not provide adequate protection. Chemical resistant clothing (e.g. chemical splash suit and positive pressure self-contained breathing apparatus (MSHA/NIOSH approved or equivalent) may be necessary.


NFPA - Health: 1 - Exposure would cause significant irritation, but only minor 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: 120.15

Conversion Factor:
1 ppm = 4.90 mg/m3; 1 mg/m3 = 0.204 ppm (calculated)

Physical State: Liquid
Melting Point: -70 deg C (-94 deg F) (24); -85 deg C (-121 deg F) (21)
Boiling Point: 194 deg C (381 deg F) (24,25,28)
Relative Density (Specific Gravity): 1.035 at 20 deg C (23); 1.022 at 20 deg C (21,25) (water = 1)
Solubility in Water: Soluble in all proportions.(21,23)
Solubility in Other Liquids: Soluble in all proportions with ethanol, glycerol, diethyl ether, acetone, dimethylformamide and benzene.(23)
Coefficient of Oil/Water Distribution (Partition Coefficient): Log P(oct) = -0.68 (estimated) (23); Log P(oct) = -0.93 (calculated) (28); Log P(oct) = -1.14 (28)
pH Value: Not available
Vapour Density: 4.14 (air = 1) (23)
Vapour Pressure: 0.024 kPa (0.18 mm Hg) at 20 deg C (25); 0.033 kPa (0.25 mm Hg) at 25 deg C (28)
Saturation Vapour Concentration: 240 ppm at 20 deg C; 330 ppm at 25 deg C (calculated)
Evaporation Rate: 0.02 (n-butyl acetate = 1) (21)
Critical Temperature: Not available

Other Physical Properties:
VISCOSITY-DYNAMIC: 3.48 mPa.s (3.48 centipoises) at 25 deg C (23)
SURFACE TENSION: 34.8 mN/m (34.8 dynes/cm) at 25 deg C (23)


Normally stable. Unstable at elevated temperatures.(21)

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.

OXIDIZING AGENTS (e.g. perchlorates, peroxides) - vigorous or violent reaction. Risk of fire and explosion.(21,24)
CHLOROSULFONIC ACID OR OLEUM - increased temperature and pressure in closed container.(26)
CALCIUM HYPOCHLORITE - ignition can occur upon direct contact.(26)

Hazardous Decomposition Products:
None reported

Conditions to Avoid:
Temperatures above 83 deg C, moisture.

Corrosivity to Metals:
No specific information available; the closely related chemical, 2- ethoxyethanol is corrosive to aluminum, zinc, galvanized metals (47,53) and not corrosive to cast iron, steel, stainless steel, copper, nickel and its alloys.(47)


LC50 (rat): greater than 50,000 mg/m3 (4-hour exposure); cited as greater than 200 mg/L (1-hour exposure) (0/10 deaths) (19)

LD50 (oral, rat): 4140-5180 mg/kg (cited as 4-5 mL/kg) (estimated) (3)
LD50 (oral, guinea pig): 4160 mg/kg (18)

LD50 (dermal, rabbit): greater than 2000 mg/kg (0/10 deaths) (20)

Eye Irritation:

Application of 0.5 mL of undiluted diethylene glycol monomethyl ether (DEGME) produced mild injury in rabbits (scored 1-5 where 5 is severe injury; graded 2 on a scale of 1 to 10).(17) Application of an unspecified amount of undiluted DEGME daily for 5 days produced mild irritation in rabbits.(3) Application of 500 mg for 24 hours caused mild irritation in rabbits.(11, unconfirmed)

Skin Irritation:

In a non-standard test, mild irritation resulted from repeated application of an unspecified amount of undiluted DEGME to the rabbit ear and belly (10 times in 2 weeks).(3) In another non-standard test, application of 0.5 mL of pure DEGME to the shaved skin for 10 days was non-irritating to rats and rabbits and guinea pigs showed, at most, slight irritation.(22)

Effects of Short-Term (Acute) Exposure:

There were no deaths or significant harmful effects in rats exposed by inhalation to an essentially saturated atmosphere of DEGME generated at room temperature.(1)

Female mice were orally administered 100, 250, 500, 1000, 2000, 3000, 6000, and 9000 mg/kg for 8 days. All animals at 9000 mg/kg died and at 6000 mg/kg, 6/10 animals died. Signs of central nervous system (CNS) depression (lethargy and decreased respiration) were observed at 3000 mg/kg and higher.(7) Decreased thymus and kidney weights have been observed in male rats orally administered 2000 mg/kg for 1 or 2 days. After 5 days, liver, spleen, thymus and testis weights were significantly decreased.(5,6) In another study, male rats were orally administered up to 800 mg/kg/day for 2 days. A decrease in the number of spleen cells was observed, but only at 400 mg/kg.(4)

Effects of Long-Term (Chronic) Exposure:

Skin Contact:
Dermal exposure to 200 or 1000 mg/kg/day for 13 weeks has resulted in reduced spleen weight and mild, fatty liver cell changes in male guinea pigs.(10)

Male rats were orally administered 0, 500, 1000, or 2000 mg/kg in drinking water for 20 days. A decrease in body weight gain and in testis weight was observed at 2000 mg/kg. Thymus weight was reduced at 1000 and 2000 mg/kg.(5,6) Two other studies cannot be evaluated due to poor study design and lack of statistical analysis of the data.(8,16)

Skin Sensitization:
Negative results were obtained in guinea pigs.(22)

Teratogenicity, Embryotoxicity and/or Fetotoxicity:
Fetotoxicity (reduced weight gain), embryotoxicity (resorptions) and/or teratogenicity (skeletal and/or visceral malformations) have been observed in rats and rabbits following oral or dermal administration, in the absence of maternal toxicity.(2,13,14) Rats were orally administered 0, 200, 600, and 1800 mg/kg/day on days 7-17 of pregnancy. Maternal toxicity (decreased body and thymus weights), embryotoxicity (resorptions), teratogenicity (external and visceral malformations) and fetotoxicity (reduced fetal weight) were observed at 1800 mg/kg/day. At 600 mg/kg/day, fetotoxicity (reduced fetal weight) and teratogenicity (reduced ossification and visceral variations) were observed, in the absence of maternal toxicity.(13) Rabbits were dermally exposed, under cover, to 0, 50, 250, or 750 mg/kg/day on days 6-18 of pregnancy. Maternal toxicity (blood effects and decreased weight gain on days 9-11) and teratogenicity were observed at 750 mg/kg/day. At 250 mg/kg/day, teratogenicity was observed, in the absence of maternal toxicity.(2) Rats were orally administered 720 or 2165 mg/kg/day on days 7-16 of pregnancy. Maternal toxicity (decreased weight gain on day 21 only), fetotoxicity (reduced weight and size), teratogenicity (skeletal and visceral malformations) and embryotoxicity (resorptions) were observed at the high dose. At 720 mg/kg/day, teratogenicity (skeletal and visceral malformations) were also observed, in the absence of maternal toxicity.(14)

Reproductive Toxicity:
Reduced testicular weight and atrophy of the seminiferous tubules have been observed in male rats fed high oral doses. No effects on fertility have been reported. Male rats were administered 900, 1800 and 3600 mg/kg for 6 weeks. At 3600 mg/kg, 2/10 rats died and there was a significant decrease in food intake and weight gain. Also at 3600 mg/kg, the mean testicular weight was reduced and 6/10 rats had atrophy of the seminiferous tubules with degeneration of spermatozoa (3/10) and hypospermia (2/10).(21) Two other studies have shown no testicular changes in male rats orally exposed to lower doses (up to 2600 mg/kg/day for 25 days).(9,12)


Selected Bibliography:
(1) Gingell, R., et al. Glycol ethers and other selected glycol derivatives. In: Patty's industrial hygiene and toxicology. Edited by G.D. Clayton, et al. 4th edition. Volume II. Toxicology. Part D. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1994. p. 2761-2764, 2822, 2830-2834
(2) Scortichini, B.H. et al. Teratologic evaluation of dermally applied diethylene glycol monomethyl ether in rabbits. Fundamental and Applied Toxicology. Vol. 7, no. 1 (July, 1986). p. 68-75
(3) Rowe. V.K. Results of range-finding toxicological studies on some of the Dowanols. EPA/OTS 86-8900001227. Biochemical Research Laboratory, The Dow Chemical Company, 1947
(4) Smialowicz, R.J., et al. Comparative immunosupression of various glycol ethers orally administered to Fischer 344 rats. Fundamental and Applied Toxicology. Vol. 18, no. 4 (May, 1992). p. 621-627
(5) Kawamoto, T., et al. Acute oral toxicity of ethylene glycol monomethyl ether and diethylene glycol monomethyl ether. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. Vol. 44, no. 4 (April, 1990). p. 602-608
(6) Kawamoto, T., et al. Effect of ethylene glycol monomethyl ether and diethylene glycol monomethyl ether on hepatic metabolizing enzymes. Toxicology. Vol. 62, no. 3 (June, 1990). p. 265-274
(7) Smith, K.N. Determination of the reproductive effects in mice of nine selected chemicals. NIOSH Contract number 210-81-6011. Bioassay Systems Corporation, Januray 7, 1983
(8) Kesten, H.D., et al. Pathologic effects of certain glycols and related compounds. Archives of Pathology. Vol. 27 (1939). p. 447-465
(9) Cheever, K.L., et al. Metabolism of bis(2-methoxyethyl) ether in the adult male rat: evaluation of the principal metabolite as a testicular toxicant. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. Vol. 94, no 1 (1988). p. 150-159
(10) Hobson, D.W., et al. A subchronic dermal exposure study of diethylene glycol monomethyl ether and ethylene glycol monomethyl ether in the male guinea pig. Fundamental and Applied Toxicology. Vol. 6, no. 2 (1986). p. 339-348
(11) RTECS database record for 2-(2-methoxyethoxy)-ethanol. Last updated: 9601
(12) Nagano, K., et al. Experimental studies on toxicity of ethylene glycol alkyl ethers in Japan. Environmental Health Perspectives. Vol. 57 (1984). p. 75-84
(13) Yamano, T., et al. Effects of diethylene glycol monomethyl ether on pregnancy and postnatal development in rats. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. Vol. 24, no. 2 (February, 1993). p. 228-235
(14) Hardin, B.D., et al. Developmental toxicity of diethylene glycol monomethyl ether (diEGME). Fundamental and Applied Toxicology. Vol. 6, no. 3 (April, 1986). p. 430-439
(15) Opdyke, D.L.J. Monographs on fragrance raw materials: diethylene glycol monomethyl ether. Food and Cosmetics Toxicology. Vol. 12, no. 4 (1974). p. 519
(16) Smyth, Jr., H.F., et al. Further experience with the range finding test in the industrial toxicology laboratory. Journal of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology. Vol. 30, no. 1 (1948). p. 63-68
(17) Carpenter, C.P., et al. Chemical burns of the rabbit cornea. American Journal of Ophthalmology. Vol. 29 (1946). p. 1363-1372
(18) Smyth, Jr., H.F., et al. The single dose toxicity of some glycols and derivatives. Journal of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology. Vol. 23, no. 6 (June, 1941). p. 259-268
(19) MB Research Laboratories, Inc. Inhalation toxicity of Poly-Solv DM in rats. Project no. MB-77-1817. EPA/OTS 86-890000166. Olin Corporation, August 1, 1977.
(20) MB Research Laboratories, Inc. Acute dermal toxicity in rabbits. Project no. MB-77-1817. EPA/OTS 86-890000166. Olin Corporation, August 2, 1977.
(21) Toxicity and health hazard summary, MSDS, acute oral LD50 and 6- week repeated dose study of diethylene glycol monomethyl ether with cover letter dated 041989. EPA/OTS 86-89-0000210. Eastman Kodak Co., 1966.
(22) Pastushenko, T.V., et al. Study of the skin-irritating and sensitizing effect of diethylene glycol monomethyl ether. Gigena i Sanitariya. Vol. 10 (1985). p. 80-81. [English Translation: Health Protection Branch, Health and Welfare Canada]
(23) HSDB record for diethylene glycol monomethyl ether. Last revision date: 96/01/18
(24) The Sigma-Aldrich library of chemical safety data. Edition II. Volume 2. Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, 1988. p. 2249C
(25) Rebsdat, S, et al. Ethylene glycol. In: Ullmann's encyclopedia of industrial chemistry. 5th completely revised edition. Volume A 10. VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, 1987. p. 109-111
(26) Fire protection guide to hazardous materials. 13th ed. Edited by A.B. Spencer, et al. National Fire Protection Association, 2002. NFPA 325; NFPA 491
(27) American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal. Vol. 45, no. 6 (1984)
(28) Verschueren, K. Handbook of environmental data on organic chemicals. 3rd edition. Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1996. p. 769
(29) Corrosion data survey: metals section. 6th edition. National Association of Corrosion Engineers, 1985. p. 48-12 to 49-12
(30) Forsberg, K., et al. Quick selection guide to chemical protective clothing. 4th ed. Van Nostrand Reinhold, 2002
(31) European Communities. Commission Directive 98/98/EC. December 15, 1998
(32) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). 2-(2-Methoxyethoxy)Ethanol. In: OSHA Chemical Sampling Information. Revision Date: Jun 25, 1992. Available at: <>
(33) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Alcohols IV. In: NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM(R)). 4th ed. Edited by M.E. Cassinelli, et al. DHHS (NIOSH) Publication 94-113. Aug. 1994. Available at: <>

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: 1996-10-15

Revision Indicators:
WHMIS (proposed class) 1999-10-01
Bibliography 2000-04-01
EU Class 2000-04-01
EU Risk 2000-04-01
EU Safety 2000-04-01
Bibliography 2003-04-16
NFPA (health) 2003-04-16
NFPA (flammability) 2003-04-16
NFPA (reactivity) 2003-04-16
WHMIS disclosure list 2003-07-08
PEL-TWA transitional 2003-12-04
Resistance of materials for PPE 2004-04-08
Bibliography 2004-04-08
Bibliography 2005-03-09
Passive Sampling Devices 2005-03-09
Sampling/analysis 2005-03-09
Male rats were orally administered 0, 500, 1000, or 2000 mg/kg in drinking water for 20 days. A decrease in body weight gain and in testis weight was observed at 2000 mg/kg. Thymus weight was reduced at 1000 and 2000 mg/kg.(5,6) 2006-01-02
Two other studies cannot be evaluated due to poor study design and lack of statistical analysis of the data.(8,16) 2006-01-02

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