What You Need to Know About Propylene Glycol
What is Propylene Glycol?
Propylene glycol is a wildly used synthetic liquid with many different names such as 1,2-propanediol, 1,2-dihydrosypropane, methyl ethyl glycol, and trimethyl glycol. The amazing thing about propylene glycol is that it absorbs water, maintains moisture levels and is used as an antifreeze agent, and because of this it can be found in a range of products.
Propylene glycol is a by-product of fossil fuel and naturally found as a by-product of fermentation, the processes associated with this then create propylene glycol. This then makes the product petroleum-derived making it synthetic. Interestingly, propylene glycol is thicker than water and dissolves better with a range of our chemicals and products than water.
Propylene glycol vs. Ethylene Glycol
Sydney Solvents propylene glycol is USP pharmaceutical grade making it food-grade safe. The USP grade simply means that it has met the Unite States Pharmacopeia standards to be used for food, drug, or medicinal use. Unlike, propylene glycol, ethylene glycol is highly toxic being known as the non-food grade version of propylene glycol. It is an extremely toxic product for humans, so it is important to not confuse the two, even though they have similar characteristics and applications.
Where and how is it used?
There are a variety of applications for propylene glycol as it is such a versatile product. It can be used for the following (not limited to):
- Carrier: It can be used to dissolve other food additives or nutrients to be used in processing, such as colours, flavours or antioxidants.
- Moisture preserver: holds moisture in food and cosmetics to prevent from drying out to maintain a stable level of moisture.
- Anti-caking agent: prevents products from sticking to one another and forming clumps like grated cheese.
- Emulsifier: prevents foods and cosmetics from separating such as cleansers and salad dressing.
- Thickener: Used to hold the food components together or thicken them when processed.
As you can see there any many different attributes of propylene glycol and that is why it is used in a variety of products. Propylene glycol can be found in:
- Cleansers, body wash, mouth wash, ointments, skin creams, deodorant, lotions, baby wipes, shampoo, conditioner, and more.
- Food products include box cake mix, soda, frozen desserts, margarine, dog and cat food, and flavoured coffee.
Is propylene glycol in products dangerous? How can you avoid it?
Propylene glycol in products is known as being safe, especially as there isn’t much glycol in the products. In Europe, it can only have 0.45 per pound allowed in the final food product, and the World Health Organisation recommends a maximum of 11.4g mg of propylene glycol per pound of body weight per day. The effects of propylene glycol are quite minimal especially when the intake is quite minimal. There was one case where a man had drunk a lot of cinnamon whiskey with a large amount of propylene glycol in it, causing toxicity, but other than that propylene glycol is a safe product when used in small amounts.
Skin and allergic reactions
Propylene glycol is known to have an impact on those with dermatitis and sensitive skin. In 2018, The American Contact Dermatitis society name propylene glycol as the 2018 allergen of the year. Reactions such as rashes were quite common, and a study found that of 38 people given propylene glycol developed a rash within 3 to 16 hours of intaking it.
If you are prone to sensitive skin it is important you read the labels carefully to avoid using it. Look for the names on the product stating propylene glycol, mono, and diester, E1520 or 1520, this will help you avoid it and getting an allergic reaction.
- Propylene glycol is a wildly used synthetic liquid and is popular as absorbs water, maintains moisture levels and is used as an antifreeze agent, and because of this, it can be found in a range of products.
- Propylene glycol is food grade USP pharmaceutical safe which means that it has met the Unite States Pharmacopeia standards to be used for food, drug, or medicinal use.
- Used in products such as cleansers, body wash, mouth wash, ointments, skin creams, deodorant, lotions, baby wipes, shampoo, conditioner, and more.
- Propylene glycol is used in food products include box cake mix, soda, frozen desserts, margarine, dog and cat food, and flavoured coffee.
- Propylene glycol in products is known as being safe, especially as there isn’t much glycol in the products.
- Propylene glycol is known to have an impact on those with dermatitis and sensitive skin.