Glycol ethers The glycol ether solvents are powerful and are used in coatings and chemical processes. Propylene glycol ether solvents are relatively new and were designed to be a less toxic alternative to the ethylene glycol types. Glycol ethers are commonly found in water reducible coatings, lacquer coatings and reducers, hydraulic brake fluids, shock absorber fluids, hydraulic fluids, stains, inks, some insecticides and dry cleaning solvents. They are also used in many industrial processes for de-waxing, removing dyestuff form fabrics, and as intermediates in the production of many plasticizers used in coatings and synthetic materials. Some glycol ether solvents are ethylene glycol monobutyl ether (EGMBE), diethylene glycol monobutyl ether (DGMBE), ethylene glycol monoethyl ether (EGEE), propylene glycol n-butyl ether (PnB), propylene glycol methyl ether (PGME).
But glycol ethers can be endocrine disrupters (affect the hormone system), neurotoxics and some derivatives have reproductive toxicity. Glycol ethers are also dangerous for the environment as they are air toxicants and volatile organic compounds (VOC).
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