November 21st 2017
2-(2-Methoxyethoxy)ethanol (DEGME)

The Health Council of the Netherlands reviewed 2-(2-methoxyethoxy)ethanol (DEGME). DEGME is primarily used as an intermediate or industrial processing aid and an additive in aviation fuels. People occupationally exposed to the substance can subsequently suffer from adverse health effects. This report is part of a series, in which the Health Council evaluates the effects of substances on reproduction, at the request of the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment.

Summary DEGME

At the request of the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment, the Health Council evaluated the effects on reproduction of the substance 2-(2-methoxyethoxy)ethanol (DEGME).
This advisory report has been drafted by the Health Council’s Subcommittee on the Classification of reproduction toxic substances of the Dutch Expert Committee on Occupational Safety (DECOS), hereafter referred to as the Committee. The Health Council has a permanent task in assessing the hazard of substances to which man can be occupationally exposed. More information on this task can be found at www.gezondheidsraad.nl.

Uses of DEGME

DEGME is primarily used as an intermediate or industrial processing aid and an additive in aviation fuels. Previous use in coatings has declined substantially, remaining only in specialist industrial markets and in professional uses such as specialist printing inks and textile dyes. These uses concern amounts small in volume.

Classification based on level of evidence for hazardous effect

When evaluating the effects on reproduction, the Committee takes into account effects on male and female fertility and on the development of the progeny. Moreover, the Committee considers the effects of a substance on lactation and on the progeny via lactation.

If there are data indicating hazardous properties, the Committee recommends classification in a category based on the strength of the evidence. Based on that proposal, the minister of Social Affairs and Employment decides whether to classify the substance as toxic to reproduction. The classification is performed according to EU-regulation (EC) 1272/2008.

Recommendation to the State Secretary

Based on the available scientific data, the Committee proposes to classify DEGME for effects on development. There are insufficient data available with regard to the effects on fertility and effect on or via lactation in humans or animals.

The Committee’s proposal for classification of DEGME:

  • for effects on fertility: not to classify due to a lack of appropriate data
  • for effects on development: to classify in category 1B (suspected human reproductive toxicant) and label with H360D (may damage the unborn child) according to Regulation (EC) 1272/2008
  • for effects on or via lactation: not to label due to a lack of appropriate data.