Ethylene glycol monohexyl ether (EGHE) and diethylene glycol monohexyl ether (DGHE) are glycol ethers used as industrial solvents and coating materials, and whose acute handling hazards were investigated. Acute peroral LD50 values in the rat were for EGHE 1.67 ml/kg (males) and 0.83 ml/kg (females), and for DGHE 4.92 ml/kg (males) and 3.73 ml/kg (females). Acute percutaneous LD50 values in the rabbit were for EGHE 0.81 ml/kg (males) and 0.93 ml/kg (females), and for DGHE 2.14 ml/kg (males) and 2.37 ml/kg (females). There were neither deaths nor signs of toxicity or irritancy during or following a 6-hr exposure of rats to a statically generated substantially saturated vapor atmosphere from either EGHE or DGHE at ambient temperature. Occluded dermal application with 0.5 ml test material for 4-hr in rabbits produced moderate inflammation of several days duration, and half of the animals developed necrosis; with DGHE there was minor erythema and edema of about 24-hr duration. In the more demanding conditions of the acute percutaneous toxicity study (24-hr occlusions with up to 4.0 ml/kg) both EGHE and DGHE produced persistent erythema, edema, necrosis, and ecchymoses. Rabbit eye irritation studies showed severe effects (conjunctivitis and corneal injury) with both EGHE and DGHE. The major acute handling hazards with both EGHE and DGHE are by swallowing, sustained skin contact, and splash contamination of the eye.
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