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 are being undertaken to avoid the risks linked to glycol ethers classified toxic for reproduction.

Glycol Ethers

Glycol Ethers are solvents which constitute 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

Eight glycol ethers have been classified for reproductive toxicity 1B under the CLP Regulation and carry the Hazard Phrase H360 “may damage fertility or the unborn child”.
To note:

  • DEGME is of low potency and has a specific concentration limits (SCLs) of ≥ 3 % meaning below this limit a mixture is not classified reprotoxic at all
  • Methoxy-2-propanol-1 (1PG2ME) is never produced as such, yet occurs as an impurity at the production of methoxy-1-propanol-2 (PGME).
  • EGEE and 1PG2MEAare not manufactured in the EU any longer.
Abbreviation Substance name EC number CAS number
EGME 2-methoxyethanol 203-713-7 109-86-4
DEGME 2-(2-methoxyethoxy)ethanol 203-906-6 111-77-3
TEGDME 1,2-bis(2-methoxyethoxy)ethane 203-977-3 112-49-2
EGDME 1,2-dimethoxyethane 203-794-9 110-71-4
DEGDME bis(2-methoxyethyl) ether 203-924-4 111-96-6
EGEE 2-ethoxyethanol 203-804-1 110-80-5
1PG2ME 2-methoxy-1-propanol 216-455-5 1589-47-5
1PG2MEA 2-methoxypropyl acetate 274-724-2 70657-70-4

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 1A and 1B (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 1B 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.

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 1B: EGEE, EGEEA, EGME, EGMEA, EGDME, DEGDME, TEGDME. Commercial preparations of methoxy-1-propanol-2 contain, as an impurity, the isomer methoxy-2-propanol-1 called ß isomer. In pure form, this ß isomer is classified toxic for reproduction category 1B. 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 0.3%, the classification limit set by the legislation. The same reasoning applies for the acetate of methoxy-1-propanol-2 and its ß isomer. Furthermore, toxicity tests completed on different glycol ethers of the P-series have not led to any classification for reprotoxicity.