Methyl Cellosolve®

May 1994
Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health Concentrations (IDLH)

CAS number: 109–86–4

NIOSH REL: 0.1 ppm (0.3 mg/m3) TWA [skin]

Current OSHA PEL: 25 ppm (80 mg/m3) TWA [skin]

1989 OSHA PEL: Same as current PEL

1993-1994 ACGIH TLV: 5 ppm (16 mg/m3) TWA [skin]

Description of substance: Colorless liquid with a mild, ether-like odor.

LEL: . . . 1.8% (10% LEL, 1,800 ppm)

Original (SCP) IDLH*: 2,000 ppm [*Note: “Effective” IDLH = 1,250 ppm — see discussion below.]

Basis for original (SCP) IDLH: Based on a UCC [1969] report that 0 of 6 rats died after a 2-hour exposure to 2,000 ppm, 4 of 6 rats died after a 4-hour exposure to 2,000 ppm, and 6 of 6 rats died after an 8-hour exposure to 2,000 ppm, an IDLH of 2,000 ppm was chosen. However, respirators have been assigned on the basis of the assigned protection factor afforded by each device up to a concentration of 50 ´ the OSHA PEL of 25 ppm (i.e., 1,250 ppm); only the “most protective” respirators are permitted for use in concentrations exceeding 1,250 ppm.

Short-term exposure guidelines: None developed


Lethal concentration data:

Species Reference LC50




Time Adjusted 0.5-hr


Derived value



UCC 1969

UCC 1969

Werner et al. 1943

LC67: 2,000

LC100: 2,000





4 hr

8 hr

7 hr

4,000 ppm (2.0)

5,000 ppm (2.5)

3,552 ppm (2.4)

400 ppm

500 ppm

355 ppm

Lethal dose data:

Species Reference Route LD50




Adjusted LD Derived value



G. pig

Ballantyne 1987

Carpenter et al. 1956

Gig Tr Prof Zabol 1963

Smyth et al. 1941













5,250 ppm

1,972 ppm

3,278 ppm

2,104 ppm

525 ppm

197 ppm

328 ppm

210 ppm

Other animal data: It has been reported that rats survived a 2-hour exposure to 2,000 ppm [UCC 1969].

Human data: Chronic exposure to 50 to 100 ppm has been associated with headache, dizziness, lethargy, weakness, hyperreflexia, disorientation, unequal pupil size, and visual and/or auditory disturbances [ACGIH 1991]. It has been reported that 3,380 mg/kg is the lethal oral dose [Young and Woolner 1946]. [Note: An oral dose of 3,380 mg/kg is equivalent to a 70-kg worker being exposed to about 50,000 ppm for 30 minutes, assuming a breathing rate of 50 liters per minute and 100% absorption.]

Revised IDLH: 200 ppm

Basis for revised IDLH: Based on health considerations and acute inhalation toxicity data in animals [UCC 1969], a value of about 400 ppm would have been appropriate for methyl Cellosolve®. However, the revised IDLH for methyl Cellosolve® is 200 ppm based on being 2,000 times the current NIOSH REL of 0.1 ppm (2,000 is an assigned protection factor for respirators; only the "most reliable" respirators are recommended above 2,000 times the NIOSH REL).


1. ACGIH [1991]. 2-Methoxyethanol. In: Documentation of the threshold limit values and biological exposure indices. 6th ed. Cincinnati, OH: American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, p. 918.

2. Ballantyne [1987]. The comparative acute toxicity and primary irritancy of the monohexyl ethers of ethylene and diethylene glycol. Vet Hum Toxicol 29(5):361-366.

3. Carpenter CP, Pozzani UC, Weil CS, Nair JH III, Keck GA, Smyth HF Jr [1956]. The toxicity of butyl cellosolve solvent. AMA Arch Ind Health 14:114-131.

4. Gig Tr Prof Zabol [1963]; 32(3):48-54 (in Russian).

5. Smyth HF Jr, Seaton J, Fischer L [1941]. The single dose toxicity of some glycols and derivatives. J Ind Hyg Toxicol 23:259-268.

6. UCC [1969]. Toxicology studies: methyl cellosolve. New York, NY: Union Carbide Corporation.

7. Werner HW, Mitchell JL, Miller JW, von Oettingen WF [1943]. The acute toxicity of vapors of several monoalkyl ethers of ethylene glycol. J Ind Hyg Toxicol 25(4):157-163.

8. Young EG, Woolner LB [1946]. A case of fatal poisoning from 2-methoxy-ethanol. J Ind Hyg Toxicol 28(6):267-268.

Page last reviewed: December 4, 2014