Ethylene Glycol


CAS No. 107-21-1

Ethylene glycol (HOCHCHOH) is a colorless, syrupy liquid. It can harm the eyes, skin, kidneys, and respiratory system. Ethylene glycol can cause death if swallowed. Workers may be harmed from exposure to ethylene glycol. The level of exposure depends upon the dose, duration, and work being done.

Ethylene glycol is used in many industries. It is used as an antifreeze, in making polyester plastics, and  for some manufacturing. Some examples of workers at risk of being exposed to ethylene glycol include the following:

  • Factory workers involved in the manufacture of polyester
  • Workers who use certain solvents
  • Employees working with heating and cooling systems
  • Factory workers exposed to certain manufacturing processes

NIOSH recommends that employers use Hierarchy of Controls to prevent injuries. If you work in an industry that uses ethylene glycol, please read chemical labels and the accompanying Safety Data Sheets for hazard information. Visit NIOSH’s page on Managing Chemical Safety in the Workplace to learn more about controlling chemical workplace exposures.

The following resources provide information about occupational exposure to ethylene glycol. Useful search terms for ethylene glycol include “1,2-dihydroxyethane,” “1,2-ethanediol,” “glycol,” “glycol alcohol,” and “monoethylene glycol.”

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Page last reviewed: June 21, 2019, 02:30 PM