Glycol Ethers Charter
Oxygenated Solvents Producers Association (OSPA)
The European producers of Glycol Ethers, members of OSPA, wish to recall by this charter the commitments and actions that they are undertaking since several years in order to avoid the risks linked to glycol ethers classified toxic for reproduction.
Glycol Ethers are solvents which constitute of a varied family of more than 30 different substances.
They have similar physical properties but do not demonstrate all the same technical characteristics nor the same toxicity profiles. This is why they are not interchangeable and this is why a large number of Glycol Ethers are put on the market for sale. Some Glycol Ethers are sold in large; others only in low quantities and several are even not produced at all.
THE GLYCOL ETHERS CLASSIFIED TOXIC FOR REPRODUCTION
Nine have been classified as “toxic for reproduction” of category 2a. None of these substances are produced in Europe.
Six of them have been commercialised1, four of which only in marginal quantities. EGMEA/EGDEE are not produced2 and the méthoxy-2 propanol-13 is never produced as such, yet occurs as an impurity at the production of méthoxy-1 propanol-24.
Furthermore, DEGME5 is classified as “toxic for reproduction” category 3b.
The OSPA Charter for the consumers/workers protection
Since 1996, the producers have signed a voluntary agreement on the commercialisation of these substances that was formalised and applied progressively via a charter. This agreement preceded the legislation that banned the sale of products classified toxic for reproduction, category 1 and 2 (amended law of 7 August 1997 concerning the limitations on the marketing and use of products containing certain dangerous substances).
The Charter forbids, under penalty of non-delivery, all uses of glycol ethers classified as reprotoxic in any product sold to the public and strictly limits the use of glycol ethers classified toxic for reproduction category 2 to industrial applications, for which no substitute has been found so far. ALL customers must ensure that Occupational Exposures/Emissions are within the legal constraints. The charter must be signed by buyers (from direct customers) as well as by any distributor involved. The producers oblige all buyers to annually reconfirm the application of the charter.
With the present document, the producers, members of OSPA, reconfirm their ongoing commitment to strictly apply all provisions of the 1996 charter.
In order to ascertain the protection of workers and to contribute to the application of the French labour law, the producers inform their clients via an MSDS about all precautions required to avoid workers’ exposure and investigate together with them possibilities of substitution.
THE GLYCOL ETHERS NOT CLASSIFIED TOXIC FOR REPRODUCTION
The producers are continuing their activities to improve the knowledge about the properties of these substances.
All producers confirm that the glycol ethers of the E series (derivates of ethylene glycol that are not mentioned above and which are commercialised for various applications) do not contain as an impurity any of the glycol ethers classified toxic for reproduction, category 2: EGEE, EGEEA, EGME, EGMEA, EGDME, DEGDME, TEGDME. Commercial preparations of méthoxy-1-propanol-2 contain, as an impurity, the isomer méthoxy-2-propanol-1 called ß isomer. In pure form, this ß isomer is classified toxic for reproduction category 2. All producers from glycol ethers of the P series (derivates of propylene glycol) confirm that for all commercial products the ß isomer concentration is clearly below the level of 0.5%, the classification limit set by the legislation. Furthermore, toxicity tests realised on different glycol ethers of the P-series have not lead to any classification for reprotoxicity. The same reasoning applies for the acetate of methoxy-1-propanol-2 and its ß isomer.