Hello and welcome to Talking Toxins with Rachel…
Toxin of the week: Propylene Glycol (PG)
So what is it?
A liquid alcohol that is formed by yeast fermentation and carbohydrates (a mineral oil). There are several grades and uses for Propylene Glycol (PG).
What do I find them in?
Pharmaceutical Grade is less concentrated, used as a stabilizer in vitamins, in drugs to help make them a solution or suspension (liquid medications/IV/oral), moisturizer in cosmetics, dispersant in fragrances, and a carbohydrate source in food/food additives. According to Natural News, “Industrial grade PG is used as an active ingredient in engine coolants and antifreeze; airplane de-icers; polyurethane cushions; paints, enamels and varnishes; and in many products as a solvent or surfactant. In all fairness, it should be stated that PG was only added to anti-freeze to replace Ethylene Glycol. It had been a problem because dogs often lap up puddles of anti-freeze.” Ethylene Glycol is extremely toxic.
Why should I be concerned?
In small amounts it is considered safe, so you have to be aware of amounts you are using to decrease risk of toxicity. Children are more susceptible, can cause toxicity, seizures or respiratory depression. Other concerns were some IV medications with drugs dissolved with large amounts of PG having acute toxicity or people using over the counter medications in excessive quantities (not being used as listed on the label). Toxicity symptoms: metabolic acidosis, lactic acidosis, allergic dermatitis, hemolysis, central nervous system depression, seizures, heart arrhythmias, and kidney toxicity.
So what can I do?
Follow labels on over the counter medications, negative results noted when products were used in excess! Just use product as listed on bottle or prescribed. Some children were more susceptible to toxicity, be aware, ask questions if your child is taking something with PG as an ingredient. Do not confuse with Ethylene Glycol (extremely toxic if ingested by humans and animals)! Look up EWG.org, Skin Deep to find products you are using and how they are rated.
FDA approves PG as a food additive (GRAS) approved, safe for internal use. According to Drugs.com, “For long term use and substantial quantities of PG – up to 5% of total food intake can be consumed without toxicity.”
Natural News.com: http://www.naturalnews.com/023138_propylene_glycol_products_natural.html#
Environmental Working Group: http://www.ewg.org/ or http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/#.WXaqgrpFyUk