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2-Butoxyethanol Basic information

Product Name:
Mol File:

2-Butoxyethanol Chemical Properties

Melting point:
-70 °C
Boiling point:
171 °C
0.902 g/mL at 25 °C(lit.)
vapor density 
4.1 (vs air)
vapor pressure 
<1 mm Hg ( 20 °C)
refractive index 
n20/D 1.419(lit.)
Flash point:
140 °F
storage temp. 
Store at room temperature.
900g/l completely miscible
7 (H2O, 20℃)(as aqueous solution)
Mild, characteristic; slightly rancid; mild ethereal.
Odor Threshold
explosive limit
Water Solubility 
λ: 230 nm Amax: 1.0
λ: 250 nm Amax: 0.10
λ: 275 nm Amax: 0.05
λ: 300-400 nm Amax: 0.01
Henry's Law Constant
(x 10-6 atm?m3/mol): 2.36 (approximate - calculated from water solubility and vapor pressure)
Exposure limits
TLV-TWA skin 25 ppm (121 mg/m3) (ACGIH), 50 ppm (242 mg/m3) (OSHA); STEL 75 ppm (363 mg/m3) (ACGIH);IDLH 700 ppm (NIOSH). .
CAS DataBase Reference
111-76-2(CAS DataBase Reference)
NIST Chemistry Reference
EPA Substance Registry System
Ethylene glycol monobutyl ether (111-76-2)

Safety Information

Hazard Codes 
Risk Statements 
Safety Statements 
WGK Germany 
Autoignition Temperature
473 °F
HS Code 
2909 43 00
Hazardous Substances Data
111-76-2(Hazardous Substances Data)
LD50 orally in rats: 1.48 g/kg (Smyth)



2-Butoxyethanol Usage And Synthesis


2-Butoxyethanol is a clear, colourless liquid with ether-like smell.2-Butoxyethanol is usually produced by a reaction of ethylene oxide with butyl alcohol, but it may also be made by the reaction of ethylene glycol with dibutyl sulphate. 2-Butoxyethanol is widely used as a solvent in protective surface coatings such as spray lacquers, quick-dry lacquers, enamels, varnishes, and latex paints. It is also used as an ingredient in paint thinners and strippers, varnish removers, agricultural chemicals, herbicides, silicon caulks, cutting oils, and hydraulic fluids and as metal cleaners, fabric dyes and inks, industrial and household cleaners (as a degreaser), and dry-cleaning compounds. It is also used in liquid soaps and in cosmetics. 2-Butoxyethanol acetate has been reported to be present in air, water, and soil as a contaminant and exposure to it occurs during its manufacture and use as an intermediate in the chemical industry, and during the formulation and use of its products in multiple industrial activities. The acetate form of 2-butoxyethanol is 2-butoxyethanol acetate and also known as ethylene glycol monobutyl ether acetate.

Chemical Properties

Ethylene glycol monobutyl ether is colorless liquid, miscible in alI proportions with many ketones, ethers, alcohols, aromatic paraffin and halogenated hydrocarbons. More specifically, it mixes in all proportions with acetone, benzene, carbon tetrachloride, ethyl ether, n-heptane and water. Because of its excellent solvency, low evaporation rate and high dilution ratios, it is used as a solvent in the manufacture and formulation of lacquers, enamels, inks and varnishes, employing such resins as alkyd, phenolic, nitrocellulose, maleic modified, styrene and epoxy. In lacquers butyl "Cellosolve" imparts a slow evaporation rate, strengthens blush resistance, heightens gloss, improves flow-out and helps prevent orange peel. Hot spray lacquers usually contain about 10% of "Dowanol" EB based on the solvent-diluent weight.

Chemical Properties

2-Butoxyethanol is a clear colorless liquid with an ether-like smell and belongs to the fam ily of glycol ether/alkoxy alcohol. 2-Butoxyethanol is miscible in water and soluble in most organic solvents. 2-Butoxyethanol does not occur naturally. It is usually produced by reacting ethylene oxide with butyl alcohol. It is used as a solvent for nitrocellulose, natural and synthetic resins, soluble oils, in surface coatings, spray lacquers, enamels, varnishes, and latex paints, as an ingredient in paint thinners, quick-dry lacquers, latex paint, and strippers, varnish removers, and herbicides. 2-Butoxyethanol is also used in textile dyeing and printing, in the treatment of leather, in the production of plasticizers, as a stabilizer in metal cleaners and household cleaners, and in hydraulic fl uids, insecticides, herbicides, and rust removers. It is also used as an ingredient in liquid soaps, cosmetics, industrial and household cleaners, dry-cleaning compounds, and as an ingredient in silicon caulks, cutting oils, and hydraulic fl uids. 2-Butoxyethanol is a fi re hazard when exposed to heat, sparks, or open flames

Chemical Properties

Ethylene glycol monobutyl ether is a colorless liquid with a mild, rancid, ether-like odor. It is soluble in most organic solvents and mineral oil. It mixes with acetone, benzene, carbon tetrachloride, ethyl ether, n-heptane and water; it is miscible with many ketones, ethers, alcohols, aromatic paraffin, and halogenated hydrocarbons.

Physical properties

Clear, colorless, oily liquid with a mild, ether-like odor. Experimentally determined detection and recognition odor threshold concentrations were 500 μg/m3 (100 ppbv) and 1.7 mg/m3 (350 ppbv), respectively (Hellman and Small, 1974). An odor threshold concentration of 580 ppbv was reported by Nagata and Takeuchi (1990).


Ethylene glycol monobutyl ether (EGBE) is used as a solvent for nitrocellulose, resins, oil, and grease, and in dry cleaning.


Ethylene glycol n-butyl ether (EB) is used widely as a coupling solvent because of its superior coupling efficiency and excellent solvency for resins.


Solvent for nitrocellulose, resins, grease, oil, albumin; dry cleaning.

General Description

A colorless liquid with a mild, pleasant odor. Less dense than water. Flash point 160°F. Irritates skin and eyes and may be toxic by ingestion. Used as a solvent and to make paints and varnish.

Air & Water Reactions

2-Butoxyethanol is sensitive to air and light. Slightly soluble in water.

Reactivity Profile

ETHYLENE GLYCOL N-BUTYL ETHER may react with bases, aluminum and oxidizing materials. 2-Butoxyethanol is liable to form peroxides on exposure to air and light. 2-Butoxyethanol attacks some forms of plastics, rubber and coatings. .


A toxic material. Eye and upper respiratory tract irritant. Questionable carcinogen.

Health Hazard

Vapors irritate eyes and nose. Ingestion or skin contact causes headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness.

Health Hazard

EGBE exhibited mild to moderate toxicity in test animals. The toxic symptoms are similar to those of EGME. It is an irritant to the eyes and skin. The toxic routes of exposure are inhalation, ingestion, and absorption through the skin. In animals, prolonged exposure to high concentrations or high oral intake caused hematuria, kidney damage, and increased osmotic fragility of the blood cells. Such effects, however, were noted only at a high level of exposures (i.e., 700 ppm for 7 hours in mice, the minimal lethal concentration) (Werner et al. 1943). The other toxic effects noted were respiratory distress, change in motor activity, and lung, kidney, and liver changes. EGBE is absorbed rapidly through the skin. A 3-minute contact with 0.56 mL/kg over a 4.5% skin area produced the increased red blood cell fragility within an hour in rabbits (Carpenter et al. 1956; ACGIH 1986). Rabbits treated percutaneously with 0.08 to 0.25 mL/kg EGBE developed prostration, hypothermia, hemoglobinuria, spleen congestion, and kidney enlargement (Duprat and Gradiski 1979). Some rabbits survived and did not show the foregoing histopathological signs. The percutaneous toxicity of EGBE was found to be greater than that of the industrial solvents carbon tetrachloride and dimethyl formamide but lower than that of 2-chloroethanol and 1,1,2-trichloroethane (Wahlberg and Boman 1979). Chronic exposures at lower concentrations produced mild hemolytic anemia and thymic atrophy in rats (Grant et al. 1985). Subchronic oral doses of undiluted EGBE produced a significant dosedependent decrease in the blood hemoglobin concentration (Krasavage 1986). Such an effect was manifested at the moderately high dose of 222–885 mg/kg/day for 5 days/week over a 6-week period. No adverse effects on the testes, bone marrow, thymus, or white blood cells were observed
LC50 value, (rats): 450 ppm/4 h
LD50 value, oral (rats): 530 mg/kg
In humans the toxic effects of EGBE are generally low. Exposure to 200 ppm for 8 hours may produce nausea, vomiting, and headache. In a study on male volunteers exposed to 20 ppm of EGBE for 2 hours during light physical exercise, Johansson and coworkers (1986) determined that the respiratory uptake of EGBE was about 57% of the inspired amount; its concentration in the blood reached a plateau level of 0.87 mg/L; the elimination half-time and the mean residence time were 40 and 42 minutes, respectively. The amount excreted in the urine was <0.03% of the total intake, whereas that of butoxyacetic acid ranged from 17 to 55%.
Noreproductivetoxicity hasbeenreported in male animals. No teratogenic effects have been reported in females. However, when pregnant animals received high oral or inhalation doses of this material, signs of embryo–fetal toxicity were reported but only at doses that were maternally toxic. Unlike EGME, EGBE caused no testicular atrophy (Doe 1984; Nagano et al. 1984).

Health Hazard

2-Butoxyethanol is present in a variety of consumer products, including cleaning agents and surface coatings, such as paints, lacquers, and varnishes. 2-Butoxyethanol is readily absorbed following inhalation, oral, and dermal exposure. 2-Butoxyethanol is released into air or water by different industrial activities and facilities that manu facture, process, or use the chemical. Exposure to 2-butoxyethanol causes irritating effects to the eyes and skin, but it has not induced skin sensitization in guinea pigs. Information on the human health effects associated with exposure to 2-butoxyethanol is limited. However, case studies of individuals who had attempted suicide by ingest ing 2-butoxyethanol-containing cleaning solutions suffered poisoning with symp toms such as hemoglobinuria, erythropenia, and hypotension, metabolic acidosis, shock, non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema, and albuminuria, hepatic disorders and hematuria.

Fire Hazard

Combustible material: may burn but does not ignite readily. Containers may explode when heated. Runoff may pollute waterways. Substance may be transported in a molten form.

Chemical Reactivity

Reactivity with Water No reaction; Reactivity with Common Materials: No reaction; Stability During Transport: Stable; Neutralizing Agents for Acids and Caustics: Not pertinent; Polymerization: Not pertinent; Inhibitor of Polymerization: Not pertinent.

Safety Profile

Poison by ingestion, skin contact, intraperitoneal, and intravenous routes. Moderately toxic via inhalation and subcutaneous routes. Human systemic effects by inhalation: nausea or vomiting, headache, unspecified eye effects. Experimental teratogenic and reproductive effects. A skin irritant. Combustible liquid when exposed to heat or flame. To fight fire, use foam, CO2, dry chemical. Incompatible with oxidizing materials, heat, and flame. When heated to decomposition it emits acrid smoke and irritating fumes

Potential Exposure

2-Butoxy ethanol is a colorless liquid with a mild, ether like odor. Molecular weight 5 118.20; Specific gravity (H2O:1) 5 0.90; boiling point 5 171C; freezing/ melting point 5 274.8C; vapor pressure 5 0.8 mmHg @ 20C; Relative vapor density (air 5 1) 5 4.1; Flash point = 61C (cc); Autoignition temperature = 238C

Environmental Fate

Biological. Bridié et al. (1979) reported BOD and COD values of 0.71 and 2.20 g/g using filtered effluent from a biological sanitary waste treatment plant. These values were determined using a standard dilution method at 20 °C for a period of 5 d. When a sewage seed was used in a separate screening test, a BOD value of 0.20 g/g was obtained. The ThOD for 2-butoxyethanol is 2.31 g/g.
Chemical/Physical. At an influent concentration of 1,000 mg/L, treatment with GAC resulted in an effluent concentration of 441 mg/L. The adsorbability of the carbon used was 112 mg/g carbon (Guisti et al., 1974).


2-Butoxyethanol should be kept stored in tightly closed, grounded containers in a cool area with adequate ventilation, away from normal work areas and sources of heat and sparks, and electrical equipment. At the storage and handling area, workers should use solvent resistant materials.

Purification Methods

Peroxides can be removed by refluxing with anhydrous SnCl2 or by passage under slight pressure through a column of activated alumina. Dry with anhydrous K2CO3 and CaSO4, filter and distil, or reflux with, and distil from NaOH. [Beilstein 1 IV 2380.]


May form explosive mixture with air. Can form unstable and explosive peroxides; check for peroxides prior to distillation; render harmless if positive. Decomposes, producing toxic fumes. Violent reaction with strong caustics and strong oxidizers. Attacks some coatings, plastics and rubber. Attacks metallic aluminum at high temperatures.

Waste Disposal

EGBE is destroyed by burning in an incinerator. In the laboratory, small amounts may be disposed of in the sink with a large volume of water.


Occupational workers should use minimal quantities of 2-butoxyethanol in designated areas with adequate ventilation and away from sources of heat or sparks. Whenever pos sible, fi re-resistant containers should be used. Wear appropriate protective equipment to prevent skin and eye contact.



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