Glycol ethers are a group of solvents based on alkyl ethers of ethylene glycol commonly used in paints. These solvents typically have higher boiling point, together with the favorable solvent properties of lower molecular weight of ethers and alcohols. The word “Cellosolve” was registered in 1924 as a United States trademark by Carbide & Carbon Chemicals Corp. (later named Union Carbide Corp.) for “Solvents for Gums, Resins, Cellulose Esters, and the Like”, ; the first one was ethyl cellosolve (ethylene glycol monoethyl ether), with the name now generic for glycol ethers.
Glycol ethers can be also derived of diethylene glycol (carbitols). Acetates of glycols are a similar kind of potent solvents.
Recent study suggests that occupational exposure to glycol ethers is related to low motile sperm count in men, but the finding has been disputed by others.