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Other names butyl cellosolve
butyl glycol
ethylene glycol monobutyl ether
Eastman EB solvent
CAS number 111-76-2
RTECS number KJ8575000
Molecular formula CH3CH2CH2CH2OCH2CH2OH
Molar mass 118.18 g/mol
Appearance Clear, colourless liquid
Density 0.90 g/cm³, liquid
Melting point

−77 °C (196 K)

Boiling point

171 °C (444 K)

Solubility in water Miscible
Acidity (pKa) high pKa for -OH group
Viscosity 2.9 cP at 25 °C
MSDS MSDS by Mallinckrodt Baker
EU classification Harmful (Xn)
R-phrases R20/21/22, R36/38
S-phrases (S2), S36/37, S46
Flash point 60 °C
Related Compounds
Related ethers 2-Methoxyethanol
Related compounds Ethylene glycol
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state
(at 25 °C, 100 kPa)

Infobox disclaimer and references

2-Butoxyethanol (2-BE) is an organic solvent with the formula CH3CH2CH2CH2OCH2CH2OH. It is a colorless liquid with a sweet, ether-like odour. It is a butyl ether of ethylene glycol, but should not be confused with it.



In 2006, the total European production of all butyl glycol ethers amounted to 181 kilotons per annum (kt/a), approximately 50% (90 kt/a) of which was 2-butoxyethanol. World production is estimated to be 200 to 500 kt/a, of which 75% is for paints and coatings.

Main producers include:


The main use of 2-butoxyethanol is as a solvent in paints and surface coatings, followed by cleaning products and inks. Other products which contain 2-butoxyethanol include acrylic resin formulations, asphalt release agents, firefighting foam, leather protectors, oil spill dispersants and photographic strip solutions. 2-Butoxyethanol is a primary ingredient of various whiteboard cleaners, liquid soaps, cosmetics, dry cleaning solutions, lacquers, varnishes, herbicides, and latex paints. It also seems to be excellent at killing most insects and arachnids.

It is the main ingredient of many home, commercial, and industrial cleaning solutions. It is manufactured by the Eastman Kodak company under catalog # EK1364579, and Kodak Laboratory Chemicals catalog # P2270.

Health and safety

It is recommended that one use precautions when working with glycol ethers such as 2-butoxyethanol. Employers are required by United States federal law to inform employees when they are working with these substances.[1]

Environmental impact

2-Butoxyethanol usually decomposes in the environment within a few days and has not been identified as a major environmental contaminant. It is not known to build up in any plant or animal species.[citation needed]

This compound is on California's list of toxic air contaminants. Some animal studies indicate that it produces reproductive problems, such as testicular damage, reduced fertility, death of embryos and birth defects.[2] People exposed to high levels of EGBE for several hours have reported nose and eye irritation, headaches, vomiting and a metallic taste in their mouths. In addition to inhaling 2-butoxyethanol vapor, research has shown that skin can also absorb 2-butoxyethanol vapor from the air, making skin a major pathway of exposure to this chemical.

2-Butoxyethanol is frequently found in popular cleaning products. It is difficult for consumers to know whether their favorite cleaner contains the chemical because manufacturers aren't required to list it on the label.[3][4]

In recent years 2-butoxyethanol has come under increased scrutiny in Canada, and Environment and Health Canada has recommend that it be added to Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA).[5]


  1. ^ Glycol Ethers Fact Sheet. California Hazard Evaluation and Information Service.
  2. ^ Ethylene Glycol Monobutyl. Environmental Health Perspectives.
  3. ^ Jane Kay. "Hazard warning on home cleaners: Study says many use chemicals linked to fertility problems", San Francisco Chronicle. 
  4. ^ Alexandra Gorman. Potential Hazards of Home Cleaning Products. Women's Voices for the Earth.
  5. ^ Current Use Patterns in Canada, Toxicology Profiles of Alternatives, and the Feasibility of Performing an Exposure Assessment Survey. Environment Canada.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "2-Butoxyethanol". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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