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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.
Additional recommended knowledge
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.
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.
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. 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.
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).
|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.|