Abstract Ethylene glycol ethers (EGEs) are a class of chemicals used extensively in the manufacture of a wide range of domestic and industrial products, which may result in human exposure and toxicity. Hematologic and reproductive toxicity of EGEs are well known whereas their action on neuronal cell viability has not been studied so far. In the present study, we investigated the effects of some EGEs on cell viability and on the hydrogen peroxide-induced damage in the human neuroblastoma (SH-SY5Y) cells. It has been found that 2-phenoxyethanol in a concentration-dependent manner (5–25mM, 24h) increased the basal and H2O2-induced lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release and 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) reduction. 2-Butoxyethanol given alone did not affect LDH release and MTT reduction but concentration-dependently enhanced the cytotoxic effect of H2O2.2-Isopropoxyethanol significantly and concentration-dependently (1–25mM) increased the basal LDH release and attenuated MTT reduction, but did not potentiate the cytotoxic effect of H2O2. Contrary to this, 2-methoxyethanol did not show a cytotoxic effect while 2-ethoxyethanol at high concentrations intensified the hydrogen peroxide action. This study demonstrated that among the EGEs studied, 2-phenoxyethanol showed the most consistent cytotoxic effect on neurons in in vitro conditions and enhanced the hydrogen peroxide action. 2-Isopropoxyethanol had also a potent cytotoxic effect, but it did not enhance the hydrogen peroxide action, whereas 2-butoxyethanol only potentiated cytotoxic effect of H2O2. It is concluded that the results of the present study should be confirmed in in vivo conditions and that some EGEs, especially 2-phenoxyethanol, 2-butoxyethanol and 2-isopropoxyethanol, may be responsible for initiation or exacerbation of neuronal cell damage.