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Propylene Glycol


Human Health Effects

  • Propylene glycol increases the amount of acid in the body. However, large amounts of propylene glycol are needed to cause this effect. (ASTDR)
  • Propylene glycol breaks down at the same rate as ethylene glycol, although it does not form harmful crystals when it breaks down. (ASTDR)
  • Frequent skin exposure to propylene glycol can sometimes irritate the skin. (ASTDR)
  • Listed as a suspected immunotoxicant, neurotoxicant, respiratory toxicant, and skin and sense organ toxicant (EDF)
  • Chronic exposure to propylene glycol may cause lactic acidosis, hypoglycemia, stupor, and seizures. (HSDB)

From the Fisher Scientific MSDS:

  • Eye:
    • May cause slight transient injury.
  • Skin:
    • May be absorbed through damaged or abraded skin in harmful amounts. Allergic reactions have been reported.
    • A single prolonged skin exposure is not likely to result in the material being absorbed in harmful amounts.
    • Prolonged contact is essentially non-irritating to skin. Repeated exposures may cause problems.
    • Negative results have consistently been obtained in guinea pigs studies for sensitization.
    • 1,2-Propylene glycol is not considered an occupational skin sensitizer.
  • Ingestion:
    • May cause gastrointestinal irritation with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Low hazard for usual industrial handling.
    • May cause hemoglobinuric nephrosis.
    • May cause changes in surface EEG.
  • Inhalation: Low hazard for usual industrial handling.
    • Inhalation of a mist of this material may cause respiratory tract irritation.
    • Material has a low vapor pressure at room temperature, so exposure to vapor is not likely.
  • Chronic:
    • Exposure to large doses may cause central nervous system depression.
    • Chronic ingestion may cause lactic acidosis and possible seizures.
    • Exposures to propylene glycol having no adverse effects on the mother should have no effect on the fetus. Birth defects are unlikely. In animal studies, propylene glycol has been shown not to interfere with reproduction.

Aquatic Environment Effects

  • Not likely to exist in large amounts in the air (ASTDR)
  • It will break down within several days to a week in water and soil (ASTDR)
  • Not expected to absorb to suspended solids or bioconcentrate(HSDB)


Fisher Scientific MSDS

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