Uses and Properties

The Ethylene Oxide & Derivatives Producers Associations (EO & GLYCOLS) are the forum of all major EU manufacturers of ethylene oxide.

Ethylene oxide is a chemical intermediate required for the manufacture of many important products and downstream markets.The major use of ethylene oxide in Europe is as a chemical intermediate in the manufacture of ethylene oxide derivatives such as surfactants, ethanolamines, glycol ethers, polyether polyols and other ethylene oxide derivatives. These ethylene oxide derivatives play a vital role in applications such as tensile formulations, paints and varnishes and many kind of polyurethane formulations.
Globally, the major use of ethylene oxide is as a starting raw material in the manufacture of ethylene glycols. The largest homologue Mono Ethylene Glycol is used as a chemical intermediate in the manufacture of polyesters (Polyethylene Terephthalate PET). PET can be converted into fibres and fabrics or used as a plastic for film and packaging applications such as PET bottles. PET is one of the plastics with the highest growth rates due to good physical properties and good recyclability.
Ethylene Oxide is a colourless gas at ambient temperatures. Due to its highly reactive nature, it has to be handled and transported according to strict safety guidelines (see also the distribution guidelines below).

Issues and Regulations

REACH Implementation

In order to fulfil the REACH requirements, the Consortium for REACH registration of Ethylene Oxide and Ethylene Glycols (REEC) was formed. The Consortium consists of 26 Member Companies and registered 4 related substances: Ethylene oxide (EO), Mono ethylene Glycol (MEG), Di-ethylene Glycol (DEG) and Tri-ethylene Glycol (TEG).
The Lead Company of this Consortium is BASF SE. To obtain further information or to purchase a Letter of Access for the above substances, please contact the following email address:


The sector group is pro-actively managing regulatory and environmental responsibilities:

  • Health: SCOEL / Occupational Exposure Limits, Classification issues
  • Environment: CO2 emissions (benchmarks), Industrial Emissions Directive (BREF)

Specific Issues

  • Exchanging non-confidential safety information about the production and handling of ethylene oxide and ethylene glycols
  • Promoting the standing of the ethylene oxide and ethylene glycols industry in a socially responsible manner
  • Informing consumers and those involved in the handling of the products on its properties and functionality
  • Encouraging the safe and proper use of ethylene oxide by developing and publishing appropriate technical information
  • Maintaining a high level of technical understanding by identifying and managing research into health and environmental effects and assessing risks in use
  • Organising and funding toxicology projects in collaboration with other sector groups or the US Ethylene Oxide and Ethylene Glycol Industry Panels
  • Developing a common position on major issues of the industry for presentation to regulators, opinion leaders and other concerned bodies
  • Developing product stewardship programmes following the Responsible Care principles

Additional Information