Methoxyacetic acid (MAA) and ethoxyacetic acid (EAA), the major metabolites of, respectively, ethylene glycol monomethyl ether and ethylene glycol monoethyl ether and their acetates, are determined by gas chromatography after extraction from urine and methylation using 2-furoic acid (2-FA) as an internal standard. The mean recoveries (n = 30) from urine of MAA, EAA, and 2-FA are 31.4 +/- 7.0%, 62.5 +/- 13.4%, and 58.4 +/- 8.7%, respectively. The recoveries decreased (p less than 0.001), however, as the total amount of acids increased. Standard curves for MAA and EAA in urine are presented. The detection limits of MAA and EAA are 0.15 and 0.07 mg/l. Intra-assay variation for MAA and EAA was 6.0 +/- 2.5% and 6.4 +/- 2.8% and inter-assay variation was 6.2 +/- 2.2% and 8.9 +/- 2.4%. When volunteers were exposed to air containing ethylene glycol monoethyl ether (20 mg/m3), urinary concentration of EAA rose significantly one hour after the exposure period (2.39 +/- 1.03 v less than or equal to 0.07 mg/l, t = 5.2, p less than 0.005).
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