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2-butoxyethanol - A cause of ME/CFS?

kday

Senior Member
Messages
369
First, my onset had an infectious trigger. Not a viral trigger. A bacterial infection.

Second, the summer before I got ill, I cleaned many commercial rafts with simple green. Gallons and gallons of the concetrated stuff. It was an 8 hours a day project for a week or two.

Assuming it was green, I did not wear much protection. I don't recall if I wore gloves or not. I don't think I did. Probably because I assumed it was safe since it was "green".

Well, it turns out simple green contains 2-butoxyethanol. What is the significance. Well, first it's toxic, and second it caused illness and the ME/CFS like illnesses in the Exxon Valdez spill and Gulf Oil spill.

Corexit 9527, considered by the EPA to be an acute health hazard, is stated by its manufacturer to be potentially harmful to red blood cells, the kidneys and the liver, and may irritate eyes and skin.[15][25] The chemical 2-butoxyethanol, found in Corexit 9527, was identified as having caused lasting health problems in workers involved in the cleanup of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.[26] According to the Alaska Community Action on Toxics, the use of Corexit during the Exxon Valdez oil spill caused people "respiratory, nervous system, liver, kidney and blood disorders".[17] Like 9527, 9500 can cause hemolysis (rupture of blood cells) and may also cause internal bleeding.[5]

We quickly found out that the concentrated simple green worked better than the commercial raft vinyl cleaner (and it was much cheaper too), so we used that. We didn't dilute it as per instructions as we needed it stronger.

The only ingredient of Simple Green with established exposure limits is undiluted 2-butoxyethanol (<4%)

I can't find the info for the info for the concentrated stuff right now. But I assume it would contain much more 2-butoxyethanol?

You'll find people trying to connect 2-butoxyethanol to ME/CFS and GWI with a google search. I tried to think of toxic exposures, and I remembered how much Simple Green I used. That's what prompted me to do a Google search on what is in it.

Needless to say, It seems that I passed the exposure limits by a long shot. I remember having some sick days where it felt like I was hungover after cleaning the boats. But this disappeared until the infectious trigger.

I'm wondering if anyone else had significant exposure to this chemical. It's in many products and many cleaning products. Think long and hard as I never imagined Simple Green wasn't so green until a little research.
 

Sushi

Moderation Resource Albuquerque
Messages
19,934
Location
Albuquerque
You mentioned the Gulf Oil Spill--is it documented that 2-butoxyethanol was used in the "clean-up?" This spill was virtually on my doorstep as I lived on a Gulf beach and the beach was black. "Clean-up" crews worked 24 hours a day on the beach with no bio-hazard protections.

When swimming pools as far as a mile away were tested, they had high levels of related chemicals. My doctor sent me a package of supplements that he thought would help with this exposure. I relocated as fast as I could though though!

Sushi
 

kday

Senior Member
Messages
369
Sushi - there were news articles stating people got sick that lived off the coast with the same symptoms as those working with the chemical. I'll search hard to see if I can find those article. But I'm sure I read them.
 

kday

Senior Member
Messages
369
The new BP summary, including results up to June 29, show a broad majority of workers testing below exposure limits set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

But the Valdez-linked chemical 2-butoxyethanol was detected at levels up to 10 parts per million (ppm) in more than 20 percent of offshore responders and 15 percent of those near shore. The NIOSH standard for 2-butoxyethanol, which lacks the force of law but is considered more health-protective than the higher OSHA limit, is 5 ppm.
http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2010/0...show-20-of-gulf-spill-responders-e-82494.html
 

Sushi

Moderation Resource Albuquerque
Messages
19,934
Location
Albuquerque
Thanks for the links, kday.

I have often wondered how just living on that beach affected my health. I never walked on the beach or went into the water after the spill, but I'm sure a lot of the chemicals went air-borne. Funny, they told us that the water was contaminated, but there was no ban on swimming on this vacation-destination beach, and many went in the water--even picking up the blobs of oil (kids playing with them).

Have you done anything to help deal with your exposure?

Sushi
 

kday

Senior Member
Messages
369
Lake Tahoe link? Info from CDC with citation from an 1984 journal.
2-Butoxyethanol was identified as a contaminant in drinking water in Cincinnati, Ohio; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Miami, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; Ottumwa, Iowa; and Seattle, Washington. It was also found in finished water from advanced waste treatment plants in Pomona, Escondido, Lake Tahoe, and Orange County, California; Dallas, Texas; and Washington, DC. Concentrations were not reported (Lucas 1984).

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp118.pdf
 

kday

Senior Member
Messages
369
I haven't done anything specifically to deal with my exposure. Not sure what I can do. Just figured out today that I was exposed to a lot of this stuff.
 

kday

Senior Member
Messages
369
I would like someone to clarify what "advanced waste treatment plants" are. Does the word "advanced" imply that it becomes drinking water after being treated?
 

August59

Daughters High School Graduation
Messages
1,617
Location
Upstate SC, USA
There was a large shallow layer of benzene that hungover the Gulf states for quite awhile even after the spill had been stopped.
 

beaverfury

beaverfury
Messages
503
Location
West Australia
Also an ingredient in many water based paints. I've used acrylic paints for years thinking they were relatively safe.
They may be. But ...
I havent got the brain power or patience to make sense of Material safety data sheets. I guess it depends on exposure
and genetics, blah blah.
I stay away from freshly painted rooms, they just smell toxic.