Propylene Glycol

29 Jun

Propylene Glycol – A Warning About Propylene Glycol

Another chemical that you really need to keep away from is Propylene Glycol and it’s close relative, Ethylene Glycol.

Propylene Glycol may be harmful when inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin. It may cause eye and skin irritation, may cause gastrointestinal disturbances, nausea, headaches, vomiting and central nervous system depression. Propylene Glycol has also been implicated in dematitis and kidney and liver abnormalities.

Dr Mark Donaghue is a leading practitioner who specialises in Environmental Medicine. Here is what he has to say about Propylene Glycol:


The uses of Propylene Glycol

Propylene Glycol has many uses.

Like ethylene glycol, propylene glycol is used in brake fluid, industrial and automotive anti-freeze, and as aircraft de-icing fluid, where the amount used, depending on the severity of the freeze, can be from several hundred up to several thousand litres per aircraft.

It is added to foods as a humectant (E1520) or solvent for artificial colouring or flavouring agents.

It is also used in pharmaceutical and personal care products and is a component of cosmetic preparation.

Many Flights per dayLike raw sewage, Propylene glycol can deplete oxygen. The oxygen depletion potential of airport de-icing operation discharges is many times greater than that of raw sewage. Therefore, de-icing a single jet can generate a BOD5 (five-day biochemical oxygen demand) load greater than that of one million gallons of raw sewage. A large hub airport often has several hundred flights each day.

Propylene Glycol can deplete oxygen during its break down in surface waters. This process can adversely affect aquatic life by consuming the oxygen which aquatic organisms need to survive. Sufficient dissolved oxygen levels in surface waters are critical for the survival of fish, macroinvertebrates, and other aquatic organisms. If oxygen concentrations drop below a minimum level, organisms emigrate, if able and possible, to areas with higher oxygen levels or eventually die. This effect can drastically reduce the amount of usable aquatic habitat. Reductions in dissolved oxygen levels can reduce or eliminate bottom-feeder populations.

Electronic Cigarettes

I was surprised to see that Propylene Glycol is used as an ingredient in these devises.  Considering it is implicated in contact dermatitis, liver and kidney disease, and depletes oxygen, it is also sucked into the lungs of people who want to give up smoking and using Electronic Cigarettes as a “safe” alternative. These products are as unsafe as tobacco smoking, I’m sorry to say.  Much better to just give up smoking, full stop.  I did… and if I can, anyone can.

Corexit implications

Propylene Glycol is an ingredient in the oil dispersant Corexit used in great quantities during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Corexit has come under scrutiny for probable adverse effects on marine life and humans that are exposed to it. Propylene glycol has also come under scrutiny, as it is the chemical that disperses Corexit and the oil to subsurface depths.

So, what does all this mean to you?

Propylene Glycol is an ingredient in many, many products used in the industrial world, in personal care, in cosmetics and in food. Obviously, when used in an industrial application, it may not cause a direct threat to your or your family’s health. But it needs to be disposed of thoughtfully.

The main concerns for the use of Propylene Glycol are in the personal care, cosmetics and food arenas.

The first thing you need to ask is “why is it there?” Besides the fact that it is cheap, Propylene Glycol can stabilise products because it is used as a humectant (draws moisture from the air to keep the products moist) and as a preservative, so the products stay fresher longer.

River fishWith personal care and cosmetics, you have to think about the absorption through your skin and the disposal of the water carrying away the used product. After using these products, you would usually wash them down the drain. But your responsibility doesn’t end there. Your grey water ends up in the rivers and waterways of your locality, just where the local fish and other aquatics live. And, as I mentioned above, this chemical removes the oxygen from the water.

In the case of personal care products and cosmetics, we found a safer, more effective, alternative supplier so our journey away from the shop-bought products actually did us a favour.

But in the case of food, you really need to ask why would you want to buy food with preservatives. Let’s have a look at food that does NOT contain preservatives. You buy the food, use what you want, then store the rest for later. When the food becomes old and stale, it attracts microscopic bacteria and mould, which are nature’s scavengers, some so small, you might not even see them. This is your signal to toss out the food. With preservatives, you don’t get this old and stale look and feel and you are not only consuming the preservatives with their potential to do you harm, you are also consuming old food which has the potential to do the same.

‘Change your Bathroom’ Pack

Toxic Free Bathroom PackWhen we first found out this information over 12 years ago, we made a decision to avoid these chemicals, found safer alternatives, and have enjoyed a healthy lifestyle ever since.

So, yes! You can live without these chemicals. If you would like to do the same, click on your country and find out more about these toxin-free personal care products that probably work better than the toxic variety.

USA and Canada | Australia and New Zealand

UK and Europe: Name the product in the generated email.

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