John Libbey Eurotext

Environnement, Risques & Santé


Ethylene glycol ether (EGME) and propylene glycol methyl ether (PGME) isomers: Mechanisms of their toxic effects on reproduction and development Volume 2, issue 2, Mars 2003


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Laboratoire de toxicologie expérimentale, Institut national de l‘environnement industriel et des risques, Ineris DRC Toxi, Parc technologique ALATA, BP 2, 60550 Verneuil‐en‐Halatte. * GERM‐Inserm U435, Université de Rennes I, Campus de Beaulieu, Avenue du général Leclerc, 35092 Rennes Cedex <>

Glycol ethers are amphiphilic solvents widely used in industrial and domestic applications. Their toxicological effects on mammal reproduction and development have been widely studied and warnings about their use, and even bans, have been issued. This family of products varies widely in structure, differences that lead to diverse patterns of metabolism and toxicity. We review here the disruptive effects on reproduction and development of two glycol ethers of different generations : ethylene glycol monomethyl ether (EGME), a member of the older ethylenic series of glycol ethers, and α isomer of propylene glycol monomethyl ether (PGME), one of the newer propylenic series. The alteration in spermatogenesis and teratogenic effects of EGME are well established, but the effects of PGME require additional study, particularly the differences between α and β isomers.