Applied Hydrogeology

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 66–76

Glycol Ethers As Groundwater Contaminants

  • Benjamin Ross
  • Gunnar Johannson
  • Gregory D. Foster
  • William P. Eckel

DOI: 10.1007/s100400050030

Cite this article as:
Ross, B., Johannson, G., Foster, G. et al. HYJO (1992) 1: 66. doi:10.1007/s100400050030


Ether derivatives of dihydroxy alcohols, which are formed from ethylene or propylene, comprise an important group of groundwater contaminants known as glycol ethers. Compounds in this group are used as solvents, cleaning agents, and emulsifiers in many chemical products and manufacturing operations. Glycol ethers have been associated with a variety of toxic effects, and some compounds in the group are relatively potent teratogens. The limited information available suggests that glycol ethers are contaminants in groundwater, especially in anaerobic plumes emanating from disposal of mixed industrial and household waste. Most methods used to analyze groundwater samples cannot adequately detect μg/? (ppb) concentrations of glycol ethers, and the existing methods perform worst for the most widely used and toxic species. A new method capable of analyzing μg/? concentrations of glycol ethers was recently developed, and its use is recommended for groundwater samples where glycol ethers are likely to be present.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin Ross
    • 1
  • Gunnar Johannson
    • 2
  • Gregory D. Foster
    • 3
  • William P. Eckel
    • 4
  1. 1.Disposal Safety, Inc., Washington, D.C., USAUS
  2. 2.National Institute of Occupational Health, Solna, SWEDEN and Dept. of Occupational Medicine, University Hospital, Uppsala, SwedenSE
  3. 3.Dept. of Chemistry, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, USAUS
  4. 4.Viar an Company, Alexandria, Virginia, USAUS

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