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Publication of NEG and NIOSH Basis for an Occupational Health Standard: Propylene Glycol Ethers and Their Acetates

CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has recently released NEG and NIOSH Basis for an Occupational Health Standard: Propylene Glycol Ethers and Their Acetates * (1). This document was developed as the result of an agreement between NIOSH and the Nordic Expert Group for Documentation of Occupational Exposure Limits (NEG) to exchange occupational safety and health information and expertise.

The document provides background information on occupational exposure limits. It includes results of a literature survey for five propylene glycol monoalkyl ethers: propylene glycol monomethyl ether (PGME), propylene glycol monomethyl ether acetate (PGMEA), their beta isomers, and dipropylene glycol monomethyl ether (DPGME).

Propylene glycol ethers are used industrially as solvents for paints, lacquers, resins, oils, and fats. DPGME is often used in cosmetics. Approximately 329,000 workers are potentially exposed to PGME in the United States. Approximately 306,000 workers are potentially exposed to PGMEA, and 184,000 to DPGME (CDC, National Occupational Exposure Survey, 1981-1983). The use of propylene glycol ethers appears to have increased considerably from 1985 to 1989. One reason for the increase is probably the replacement of ethylene glycol ethers by propylene glycol ethers because of the reproductive toxicity associated with the former group of solvents (2).

References

  1. NIOSH. NEG and NIOSH basis for an occupational health standard: propylene glycol ethers and their acetates. Cincinnati: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, CDC, 1991;DHHS publication no. (NIOSH)91-103.

  2. NIOSH. Criteria for a recommended standard: occupational exposure to ethylene glycol monomethyl ether, ethylene glycol monoethyl ether, and their acetates. Cincinnati: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, CDC, 1991;DHHS publication no. (NIOSH)91-119.

    • Single copies of this document are available without charge from the Information Dissemination Section, Division of Standards Development and Technology Transfer, NIOSH, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226, telephone: (513) 533-8287.

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