Ingredient Database

ToxicFree Foundation / Ingredient Database / Ethanolamine (MEA)
    Type in the name of an ingredient to learn how it has been rated by ToxicFree Foundation
    Red Light

    Ethanolamine (MEA)


    Ethanolamine (MEA)

    What is it?

    Ethanolamine, also called 2-aminoethanol or monoethanolamine (often abbreviated as ETA or MEA), is an organic chemical compound that is both a primary amine and a primary alcohol (due to a hydroxyl group). Like other amines, monoethanolamine acts as a weak base.

    Ethanolamine is a toxic, flammable, corrosive, colorless, viscous liquid with an odor similar to that of ammonia. Ethanolamine is commonly called monoethanolamine or MEA in order to be distinguished from diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA). Ethanolamine is the second-most-abundant head group for phospholipids, substances found in biological membranes, and is also used in messenger molecules such as palmitoylethanolamide, which has an effect on CB1 receptors.

    More Information

    Routes of exposure
    The substance can be absorbed into the body by inhalation, by ingestion and through the skin. 

    Inhalation risk
    A harmful contamination of the air will be reached rather slowly on evaporation of this substance at 20°C; on spraying or dispersing, however, much faster. 

    Effects of short-term exposure
    The substance is corrosive to the respiratory tract, skin and eyes. Corrosive on ingestion. The vapour is irritating to the eyes, skin and respiratory tract. The substance may cause effects on the central nervous system. Exposure could cause lowering of consciousness. 

    Effects of long-term or repeated exposure
    Repeated or prolonged contact may cause skin sensitization.



    See Nitrosating Agents (

    This ingredient is commonly used in: