Agent Name

Ethylene glycol

CAS Number




Major Category

Other Classes


1,2-Dihydroxyethane; 1,2-Ethanediol; 146AR; 2-Hydroxyethanol; Aethylenglykol [German]; Dowtherm SR 1; Ethylene alcohol; Ethylene dihydrate; Ethylene glycol; Fridex; Glycol; Glycol alcohol; Glycol, ethylene-; Lutrol-9; Macrogol 400 BPC; Monoethylene glycol; Norkool; Ramp; Tescol; Ucar 17; Union Carbide XL 54 Type I De-icing Fluid; Zerex; [ChemIDplus] UN8027


Ethylene Glycols


Clear, colorless, syrupy, odorless liquid. [antifreeze] [Note: A solid below 9 degrees F.]; [NIOSH]


Used in antifreeze and deicing solutions for cars, boats, and aircraft; also used as a solvent for paints, plastics, photographic developing solutions, coolants, hydraulic fluids, and inks; [ATSDR ToxFAQs] Highest risk for exposure in deicing aircraft and runways; [Reference #2] Occupational exposure mainly through skin and eyes, but also inhalation if heated or aerosolized; 50% solution used to de-ice bridges; Has been used in adhesives, polishes, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals; [ACGIH]


TLV Basis is upper respiratory tract irritation; The oral lethal dose in adult humans is about 1.4 ml/kg or about 100 ml. No adverse effects to human eyes after 4 weeks of exposure to 6.6 ppm; [ACGIH] Ethylene glycol is a skin irritant and a poison by ingestion. No health effects have been reported in persons chronically exposed to levels of ethylene glycol found in the environment. [ATSDR Case Studies #30] "Toxic inhalation of ethylene glycol is unlikely at room temperature because of the chemical's low volatility, but can occur when the liquid is heated, agitated, or sprayed." Toxicity after ingestion includes inebriation, metabolic acidosis, and renal failure. [ATSDR Medical Management] Low toxicity by the dermal route; "The acute toxic effects of EG in laboratory animals and humans can include narcotic effects, metabolic acidosis and renal toxicity." Exposure below 1000 mg/kg/day results in developmental toxicity in animals only by oral route and only after rapid bolus; [Reference #2] Ethylene glycol is not significantly absorbed through the skin. Poisoning after inhalation exposure is "unlikely." [Ford, p. 758] Combined osmolar and anion gaps suggest poisoning by methanol or ethylene glycol, but also may occur in severe alcoholic ketoacidosis or diabetic ketoacidosis. [Olson, p. 35] A skin, eye, and respiratory tract irritant; May cause effects on the kidneys and CNS; [ICSC] Causes acute tubular necrosis after ingestion but not after occupational exposures because of low vapor pressure; [Rosenstock, p. 1006]

Reference Link

ATSDR Medical Management - Ethylene glycol

Exposure Assessment
Skin Designation (ACGIH)



25 ppm, vapor fraction


50 ppm, vapor fraction (10 mg/m3, inhalable particulate matter, aerosol only


10 ppm(can also occur as vapor and aerosol)

Vapor Pressure

0.05 mm Hg

Odor Threshold Low

159 ppm

Lethal Concentration

LC (rat) > 200 mg/m3/4h

Explanatory Notes

Flash point = 232 deg F; Odor threshold; [ACGIH]

Half Life

Serum: 2-3 hours; not detectable in urine or tissues after 24-48 hours (metabolites present for longer periods); [TDR, p. 659]

Reference Link

OECD SIDS: Ethylene Glycols - 2004

Adverse Effects

Other CNS Neurotoxin



ACGIH Carcinogen

Not Classifiable

Links to Other NLM Databases
Health Studies

Human Health Effects from Hazardous Substances Data Bank:

Toxicity Information


Chemical Information

Search ChemIDplus

Biomedical References

Search PubMed

Related Information in HazMap

Occupational diseases associated with exposure to this agent:


Industrial Processes with risk of exposure: