|Jmol-3D images||Image 1|
|Molar mass||118.17 g mol−1|
|Appearance||Clear, colourless liquid|
|Density||0.90 g/cm³, liquid|
|Melting point||−77 °C (−107 °F; 196 K)|
|Boiling point||171 °C (340 °F; 444 K)|
|Solubility in water||Miscible|
|Acidity (pKa)||high pKa for -OH group|
|Viscosity||2.9 cP at 25 °C (77 °F)|
|MSDS||MSDS by Mallinckrodt Baker|
|EU classification||Harmful (Xn)|
|S-phrases||(S2), S36/37, S46|
|Flash point||67 °C (153 °F; 340 K)|
|Related compounds||Ethylene glycol|
|Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)|
|(what is: / ?)|
2-Butoxyethanol is an organic compound with the formula BuOC2H4OH (Bu = CH3CH2CH2CH2). It is a colorless liquid with a sweet, ether-like odour. It is a butyl ether of ethylene glycol and part of the family of glycol ethers. It is a relatively nonvolatile, inexpensive solvent that is used in many domestic and industrial products.
- C2H4O + C4H9OH → C4H9OC2H4OH
2-Butoxyethanol is a glycol ether with modest surfactant properties. In use since the 1930s, glycol ethers are solvents that dissolve both water soluble and hydrophobic substances. Glycol ethers consist of two components, an alcohol and ether. According to the nature of alcohol, molecules of this class can be divided into two groups: E series and P series which correspond to ethylene and propylene respectively. Glycol ethers are selected for specific purposes, such as solubility, inflammability, and volatility.
In 2006, the European production of butyl glycol ethers amounted to 181 kilotons, of which approximately 50% (90 kt/a) was 2-butoxyethanol. World production is estimated to be 200 to 500 kt/a, of which 75% is for paints and coatings and 18% for metal and household cleaners. In the US, it is considered a High Production Volume Chemical because greater than 100 million pounds of this chemical is produced per year.
2-Butoxyethanol was introduced into the industrial industry as a solvent for paints and surface coatings, as well as cleaning products and inks. Other products that contain 2-butoxyethanol include acrylic resin formulations, asphalt release agents, firefighting foam, leather protectors, oil spill dispersants, degreaser applications, photographic strip solutions, whiteboard cleaners, liquid soaps, cosmetics, dry cleaning solutions, lacquers, varnishes, herbicides, latex paints, enamels, printing paste, and varnish removers, and silicone caulk. Products containing this compound are commonly found at construction sites, automobile repair shops, print shops, and facilities for sterilizing and cleaning. It is the main ingredient of many home, commercial and industrial cleaning solutions. Since it has both a non-polar and a polar end, it is useful for removing both polar and non-polar substances, like grease and oils. It is also approved by the FDA in the United States to be used as a direct and indirect food additive as an antimicrobial agent, defoamer, stabilizer, and adhesive.
In the petroleum industry, butoxyethanol is a component of fracturing fluids, drilling stabilizers, and oil slick dispersants for both water-based and oil-based hydraulic fracturing When liquid is pumped into the well, 2-Butoxyethanol is used to stabilize the fracturing fluids that are being pumped under extreme pressure by lowering the surface tension and to facilitate release of the oil by preventing congealing. It is also used as a crude oil-water coupling solvent for more general oil well workovers. Because of its surfactant properties, 2-Butoxyethanol is also used as a major constituent in dispersants for oil spills. It is found in the dispersant Corexit 9527, which was used in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Its use in Corexit has incited controversy because of the possible environmental and health effects of the chemical.
Butoxyethanol has a low acute toxicity, with LD50 of 2.5 g/kg in rats. Laboratory tests by the U. S. National Toxicology Program have shown that only sustained exposure to high concentrations (100-500 ppm) of 2-butoxyethanol can cause adrenal tumors in animals. American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) reports that 2-butoxyethanol is carcinogenic in animals. However, these rodent tests may not directly translate to carcinogenicity in humans, as the observed mechanism of cancer involves the rodents' forestomach, which humans do not have. OSHA does not regulate 2-butoxyethanol as a carcinogen.
Disposal and degradation
2-Butoxyethanol can be disposed of by incineration. It was shown that disposal occurs faster in the presence of semiconductor particles. 2-Butoxyethanol usually decomposes in the presence of air within a few days by reacting with oxygen radicals. It has not been identified as a major environmental contaminant, nor is it known to bio-accumulate.
Moderate respiratory exposure to 2-butoxyethanol often results in irritation of mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and throat. Heavy exposure via respiratory, dermal or oral routes can lead to hypotension, metabolic acidosis, hemolysis, pulmonary edema and coma. The current ACGIH threshold limit value (TLV) for worker exposure is 20 ppm in the industrial atmosphere, which is well above the odor threshold of 0.4 ppm. 2-Butoxyethanol is metabolized in animals by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase. Blood or urine concentrations of 2-butoxyethanol or its major toxic metabolite, 2-butoxyacetic acid, may be measured using chromatographic techniques to monitor worker exposure or to confirm a diagnosis of poisoning in hospitalized patients. A biological exposure index of 200 mg 2-butoxyacetic acid per g creatinine has been established in an end-of-shift urine specimen for exposed U.S. employees. 2-Butoxyethanol and its metabolites fall to undetectable levels in urine after about 30 hours in human males.
Regulation in Canada
2-Butoxyethanol has come under scrutiny in Canada, and Environment and Health Canada recommended that it be added to Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). These products are not required to list it on the label when diluted to a certain point. The safety of the products as normally used is defended by the American Chemistry Council and the Soap and Detergent Association, industry trade groups.
Regulation in U.S.
U.S. Employers are required to inform employees when they are working with this substance.
Butoxyethanol is listed in the U.S. state of California as a hazardous substance, though it was removed from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's list of hazardous air pollutants in 1994.
Harmful effects have been observed in animals exposed to high levels of 2-butoxyethanol. Developmental effects were seen in a study by Ty et al. This study exposed pregnant Fischer 344 rats and New Zealand white rabbits to varying doses of 2-butoxyethanol. At 100 ppm (483 mg/m3) and 200 ppm (966 mg/m3) exposure, there were statistically significant increases in the number of litters with skeletal defects. Additionally, 2-butoxyethanol was associated with a significant decrease in maternal body weight, uterine weight, and number of total implants.
Neurological effects have also been observed in animals exposed to 2-butoxyethanol. In a study by Dodd et al., Fischer 344 rats were exposed to 2-butoxyethanol at concentrations of 523 ppm and 867 ppm. Both female and male rats experienced decreased coordination after this exposure. Similarly, in a study by Dow et al., male rabbits showed a loss of coordination and equilibrium after exposure to 400 ppm of 2-butoxyethanol for 2 days.
When exposed to 2-butoxyethanol in drinking water, both F344/N rats and B63F1 mice showed negative effects. The range of exposure for the two species was between 70 mg/kg body weight per day to 1300 mg/kg body weight per day. Decreased body weight and water consumption were seen for both species. Rats had reduced red blood cell counts and thymus weights, as well as lesions in the liver, spleen, and bone marrow.
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