Exposure to Ethylene Glycol Monomethyl Ether: Clinical and Cytogenetic Findings

Randa A. El-Zein, Sherif Z. Abdel-Rahman, Debra L. Morris, Marvin S. Legator

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Glycol ethers are known reproductive and developmental toxins in laboratory animals, but little is known about their genotoxic effects in humans. In the current article, the authors tested the hypothesis that human in utero exposure to ethylene glycol monomethyl ether (EGME) is associated with the development of specific congenital anomalies and elevated levels of chromosome aberrations. The authors conducted a clinical and cytogenetic evaluation of 41 offspring of 28 females occupationally exposed to EGME for an average duration of 4.6 yr. Six offspring of 5 women who were occupationally exposed to EGME during pregnancy exhibited characteristic dysmorphic features that were not observed in 35 offspring of 23 women who worked in the same facility, but who were not pregnant at the time of exposure. Persistent cytogenetic damage was observed exclusively in all 6 in-utero-exposed offspring, but not in their 12 match non-in-utero-exposed controls. The study characterizes EGME as a human teratogen, as indicated by the prevalence of characteristic dysmorphic features and persistent cytogenetic damage in individuals exposed in utero to this chemical.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-376
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Environmental Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Chromosome aberration
  • Dysmorphism
  • Fish
  • Glycol ethers
  • Reproductive toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Environmental Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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