Toxno Substance Profile
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Substance Name

Ethylene glycol
Identification Number: CASRN | 107-21-1

  Substance Attributes

  • Endocrine Disrupter

    Interferes with your hormones. Hormones are powerful messengers that can bind to DNA. You don't want to mess with them.

  • Reproductive Effects

    Interferes with fertility

  • Birth/Developmental

    Known to effect development of fetus.

  • Metabolic Interference or Disruption

    Interferes with human metabolism. This can be a very serious thing. Some of these interference mechanics are well established. However, often long term effects and health consequences remain largely unknown. Additionally an emerging area of concern and one that is not currently studied, is the combined synergistic effects these metabolically disrupting chemicals have on human health.

    Metabolic interference happens when the substance produces highly reactive and often damaging intermediates during detoxification or when the substance binds to specific enzymes, important structural groups on molecules, receptors and membranes or targets DNA or mimics key nutrients.

  • Exposure Produces Health Symptoms

    Symptoms maybe short term or long term depending on the exposure duration and intensity and effects areas like Cardiovascular, Gastrointestinal, Cognition, Fatigue. A substance with this attribute may cause an allergic skin reaction, serious eye irritation, allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled.

  • Toxic to specific organs

    Can damage liver, kidney, lungs, heart or gut. Ironically liver, kidneys and gut are the main detoxifications systems.

  • Soluble in Water

    This substance easily dissolves in water. As such it can be easily transported via waterways. Not really a nastiness attribute, but this feature helps rapidly spread other nastiness attributes this substance may have.

  • Volatile - Evaporates easily

    This substance easily enters the air we breath. Not really a nastiness attribute, but this feature helps rapidly spread other nastiness attributes this substance may have.

These attributes are ONLY based on peer-reviewed evidence. See link to Data Sources below. Everyone benefits from knowing this stuff. Please Share.

  • CATEGORIES: Chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluids | Chemicals detected in flowback and produced water - collectively referred to as - hydraulic fracturing wastewater | Household Toxin | Industrial/Workplace Toxin | Pollutant | Airborne Pollutant | Synthetic Toxin | Indirect Additives Used in Food Contact Substances | PESTICIDE active ingredient | Inert Pesticide Ingredient USA - Non Food Use Only | Inert Pesticide Ingredient USA - FRAGRANCE ( Generally Not used on Food) | Pesticide approved in USA (California) | A Hazardous Substance that may be found in the Australian Workplace
  • SUBSTANCE LINEAGE: Organic Compounds | Organooxygen Compounds | Alcohols and Polyols | Polyols | 1,2-Diols
  • SYNONYMS: 1,2-Dihydroxyethane | 1,2-Ethandiol | 1,2-Ethanediol | 2-Hydroxyethanol | Aliphatic diol | Dihydroxyethane | Dowtherm SR 1 | Ethane-1,2-diol | Ethanediol | Ethylene alcohol | Ethylene dihydrate | Ethylene glycol | Ethylene gycol | Fridex | Glycol | Glycol alcohol | Glycol | polyethylene | Glygen | HO-CH2-CH2-OH | Macrogol 400 BPC | Monoethylene glycol | Norkool
  • DESCRIPTION: Has been used in CSG, Hydraulic Fracturing Operations (Fracking) as - Breaker, crosslinker, scale inhibitor, antifreeze, foamer, lubricant, surface tension, fracturing, corrosion inhibitor, unknown | Ethylene glycol (monoethylene glycol (MEG), IUPAC name: ethane-1,2-diol) is an alcohol with two -OH groups (a diol), a chemical compound widely used as an automotive antifreeze. Ethylene glycol is toxic, and its accidental ingestion should be considered a medical emergency. (L1023)

    From Safe Work Australia and the Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) in Australia:

    Harmful if swallowed | General Health Hazard | A Hazardous Substance that may be found in the Australian Workplace. Check with your employer or health and safety officer. Stay informed and become aware of the dangers that surround you. This chemical is included on the list of recognised hazardous chemicals from the Safe Work Australia - Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) that is based on the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)

    Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations are the basis for hazardous chemicals regulations in Commonwealth, State and Territory jurisdictions in Australia. Under the model WHS Regulations, manufacturers and importers of substances, mixtures and articles supplied for use in workplaces are required to determine whether they are hazardous to health and safety before supply. The model WHS Regulations mandate that the hazards of a chemical as determined by the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) must be included in safety data sheets and on labels. There are transitional arrangements in place for moving to the GHS-based system.

    The GHS Hazardous Chemical Information List contains chemicals classified by an authoritative source (such as the European Commission or NICNAS) in accordance with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (the GHS). This list contains the vast majority of chemicals currently in HSIS. This list and its detail are regularly updated by Work Safe Australia. The model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations require chemicals to be classified in accordance with the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). However transitional arrangements allow use of classification information in HSIS derived from the Approved Criteria until the 31 December 2016.
  • toxin chemical structure pubchem
  • DATA SOURCES: DATA SOURCES: ARTICLE 4 | T3DB | PubChem | Article-Colborn-2010 | FracFocus | EPA in USA | US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES | APPEA | FDA Indirect Food Additives | DPR | EPA USA - Pesticide Inerts | Safe Work Australia - Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS)
  • LAST UPDATE: 28/04/2018

  Health Associations

Mostly focused on Health Implications of Long Term Exposure to this substance

  • SYMPTOMS: Symptoms of ethylene glycol poisoning usually follow a three-step progression. Stage 1 consists of neurological symptoms including victims appearing to be intoxicated, exhibiting symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, slurred speech, and confusion. Over time, the body metabolizes ethylene glycol into other toxins, it is first metabolized to glycolaldehyde, which is then oxidized to glycolic acid, glyoxylic acid, and finally oxalic acid. Stage 2 is a result of accumulation of these metabolites and consists of tachycardia, hypertension, hyperventilation, and metabolic acidosis. Stage 3 of ethylene glycol poisoning is the result of kidney injury, leading to acute kidney failure. Oxalic acid reacts with calcium and forms calcium oxalate crystals in the kidney. (L1023, A2703)
  • POSSIBLE HEALTH CONSEQUENCES: Health effects of ethylene glycol poisoning include tachycardia, hypertension, hyperventilation, and metabolic acidosis. Stage 3 of ethylene glycol poisoning is the result of kidney injury, leading to acute kidney failure. Oxalic acid reacts with calcium and forms calcium oxalate crystals in the kidney (L1023). | The main steps in degradation of ethylene glycol are as follows: ethylene glycol--> glycoaldehyde--> glycolic and glyoxylic acid. Glyoxylic acid is then metabolized into a number of chemicals that have been identified in expired air, urine, or blood. The metabolism of ethylene glycol to glycoaldehyde is mediated by alcohol dehydrogenase. Glycoaldehyde is metabolized to glycolic acid by aldehyde oxidase or to a lesser extent to glyoxal. Glyoxal is changed both to glycolic acid in the presence of lactic dehydrogenase, aldehyde oxidase, or possibly both enzymes, and to glyoxylic acid via some oxidative mechanism. The main path of the degradation of glycolic acid is to glyoxylic acid. This reaction is mediated by lactic dehydrogenase or glycolic acid oxidase. Once glyoxylic acid is formed, it is apparently degraded very rapidly to a variety of products, a few of which have been observed. Its breakdown to 2-hydroxy-3-oxoadipate it is thought, is mediated by thiamine pyrophosphate in the presence of magnesium ions. The formation of glycine involves pyridoxal phosphate and glyoxylate transaminase, whereas the formation of carbon dioxide and water via formic acid apparently involves coenzyme A (CoA) and flavin mononucleotides. Oxalic acid formation from glyoxylic acid, has been considered to be the results from the action of lactic dehydrogenase or glycolic acid oxidase. (T29)
  • ACTION OF TOXIN: Ethylene glycol is metabolized by alcohol dehydrogenase to glycoaldehyde, which is then metabolized to glycolic, glyoxylic, and oxalic acids. These acids, along with excess lactic acid are responsible for the anion gap metabolic acidosis. Oxalic acid readily precipitates with calcium to form insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. Tissue injury is caused by widespread deposition of oxalate crystals and the toxic effects of glycolic and glyoxylic acids. Ethylene glycol produces central nervous system depression. The glycol probably causes the initial CNS depression; oxalate and the other intermediates seem to be responsible for nephrotoxicity. Glycoaldehyde and glyoxylate may be the principal metabolites responsible for EG nephrotoxicity and do so by causing ATP depletion and phospholipid and enzyme destruction. Glycine and acidosis, by-products of EG metabolism, can attenuate glyoxylate-mediated injury. This suggests that naturally occurring but incomplete protective pathways may be operative during the evolution of EG cytotoxicity. (A612, A613, A310) |
  • TOXIN SITES OF ACTION IN CELL: "Cytoplasm", "Extracellular"
  • Additional Exposure Routes: The major use of ethylene glycol is as a coolant or antifreeze in, for example, automobiles and personal computers. Ethylene glycol has become increasingly important in the plastics industry for the manufacture of polyester fibers and resins, including polyethylene terephthalate, which is used to make plastic bottles for soft drinks. (L1023)

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  Exposure Routes

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