Ethylene Glycol


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Subject: Ethylene Glycol

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  • A colorless, odorless, sweet tasting nonvolatile liquid found in antifreeze, coolants, deicers, brake fluids, detergents, paints, and inks

  • Other name: 1,2-ethanediol

  • Normal range: none; threshold limit value for occupational exposure: 100 mg/m3


  • Antifreeze

  • Softening agent and stabilizer

  • Solvent


  • Minimum lethal oral dose for adults is approximately 100 mL; toxicity possible at serum concentrations >250 mg/L


  • Propylene glycol, a similar compound used in pharmaceutical preparations is less toxic.

  • Ethylene glycol can cause severe metabolic acidosis with increased anion gap and osmolal gap.

  • Ethylene glycol is metabolized to glycoaldehyde, glycolic acid, glyoxylic acid, oxalic acid, formic acid, and carbon dioxide. These acids may interfere with testing of ethylene glycol and cause elevation of some immunoassay tests for lactate/lactic acid, triglycerides.

  • Avoid serum separator tubes and gels (may impact results).