Human inhalation exposure to ethylene glycol

Authors : Jörn Carstens; György A. Csanády, Thomas H. Faller and Johannes G. Filser, Institute of Toxicology, GSF-National Research Center for Environment and Health 
Publisher : Toxicokinetics and Metabolism. Archives of Toxicology, Volume 77, Number 8


Two male volunteers (A and B) inhaled 1.43 and 1.34 mmol, respectively, of vaporous 13C-labeled ethylene glycol (13C2-EG) over 4 h. In plasma, 13C2-EG and its metabolite 13C2-glycolic acid (13C2-GA) were determined together with the natural burden from background GA using a gas chromatograph equipped with a mass selective detector. Maximum plasma concentrations of 13C2-EG were 11.0 and 15.8 µmol/l, and of 13C2-GA were 0.9 and 1.8 µmol/l, for volunteers A and B, respectively. Corresponding plasma half-lives were 2.1 and 2.6 h for 13C2-EG, and 2.9 and 2.6 h for 13C2-GA. Background GA concentrations were 25.8 and 28.3 µmol/l plasma. Unlabeled background EG, GA and oxalic acid (OA) were detected in urine in which the corresponding 13C-labeled compounds were also quantified. Within 28 h after the start of the exposures, 6.4% and 9.3% 13C2-EG, 0.70% and 0.92% 13C2-GA, as well as 0.08% and 0.28% 13C2-OA of the inhaled amounts of 13C2-EG, were excreted in urine by volunteers A and B, respectively. The amounts of 13C2-GA represented 3.7% and 14.2% of background urinary GA excreted over 24 h (274 and 88 µmol). The amounts of 13C2-OA were 0.5% and 2.1% of background urinary OA excreted over 24 h (215 and 177 µmol). From the findings obtained in plasma and urine and from a toxicokinetic analysis of these data, it is highly unlikely that workplace EG exposure according to the German exposure limit (MAK-value 10 ppm EG, 8 h) could lead to adverse effects from the metabolically formed GA and OA.