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Notices to Readers Availability of NIOSH Criteria Document on Ethylene Glycol Monobutyl Ether and Ethylene Glycol Monobutyl Ether Acetate

CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently published Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Ethylene Glycol Monobutyl Ether and Ethylene Glycol Monobutyl Ether Acetate (1).* In this document, NIOSH recommends occupational exposure limits for ethylene glycol monobutyl ether (EGBE) and its acetate, ethylene glycol monobutyl ether acetate (EGBEA). The publication also examines the occupational health risks of exposure to these chemicals and presents criteria for eliminating or minimizing these risks during the manufacture and use of EGBE and EGBEA. These criteria include recommendations for preventing dermal contact, sampling and analytical methods, medical monitoring, biological monitoring, engineering controls and work practices, and protective clothing and equipment. Because limited data are available from studies in humans, NIOSH based its recommended exposure limit for EGBE and EGBEA on data from studies in animals. The data were adjusted to allow for uncertainties in the extrapolation from animals to humans.

In humans and animals, the principal health effects of exposure to EGBE and EGBEA involve the blood and hematopoietic system, the central nervous system (CNS), the kidneys, and the liver. In animals, effects on the CNS, liver, and kidneys occur at higher EGBE exposures than do hematotoxic effects. Thus, limiting exposures to prevent hematotoxic effects will prevent CNS, kidney, and liver effects.

NIOSH therefore recommends that exposure to EGBE and EGBEA in the workplace be limited to 5 parts per million parts of air. Dermal contact should be prohibited since both compounds are readily absorbed through the skin. The same exposure limit is recommended for EGBE and EGBEA because any effects of EGBEA are likely to occur after it is metabolized to EGBE. Reported by: Div of Standards Development and Technology Transfer, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, CDC.


  1. NIOSH. Criteria for a recommended standard: occupational exposure to ethylene glycol monobutyl ether and ethylene glycol monobutyl ether acetate. Cincinnati, Ohio: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, CDC, 1990; DHHS publication no. (NIOSH)90-118. foots

    • Single copies are available without charge from Publications Dissemination, DSDTT, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, CDC, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226; telephone (513) 533-8287.

Disclaimer   All MMWR HTML documents published before January 1993 are electronic conversions from ASCII text into HTML. This conversion may have resulted in character translation or format errors in the HTML version. Users should not rely on this HTML document, but are referred to the original MMWR paper copy for the official text, figures, and tables. An original paper copy of this issue can be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington, DC 20402-9371; telephone: (202) 512-1800. Contact GPO for current prices.

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