Chemistry · June 12, 2022

What is Propylene Glycol and How Is It Used?

Propylene Glycol – Propylene glycol is a common alcohol that is used in many different products. Propylene glycol has a variety of uses, with the most common use being as an additive in antifreeze and other coolants used in engines. In addition to its usage as an additive, propylene glycol is also used in food and beverage production as a preservative and to create artificial smoke.

Propylene glycol has several other uses, including as an aerosol spray propellant and as an additive in cosmetics, medicines, and personal care products. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved propylene glycol for usage in specific products such as antifungal solutions for athletes foot. As with any chemical or additive, it’s important for consumers to understand how it’s used so they can make informed decisions about the products they choose to buy.


What is Propylene Glycol and How Is It Used?

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Propylene glycol is a colorless, viscous chemical with a sweet, syrupy taste that is also known as propane-1,2-diol. This non-toxic liquid chemical is frequently used as an additive in food and drinks because of its numerous properties and functionalities. Propylene glycol is used in a variety of applications such as antifreeze, solvent for artificial sweeteners, and even food preservative. There are many other uses for propylene glycol involving dilution with water to create foggy atmospheres. This article explains everything you need to know about propylene glycol – its uses, properties, toxicity levels, and more.

What is Propylene Glycol?

Propylene glycol is a colorless, odorless, viscous liquid chemical that is primarily used as an additive in food and beverage products. It is also used as a solvent in artificial sweeteners, antifreeze, and other industrial applications. Its chemical formula is C3H8O2. Its chemical name is 1,2-propanediol. PG is the abbreviation used to describe Propylene Glycol. Propylene glycol is a synthetic compound that is made from propylene, a byproduct of natural gas. Propylene is reacted with hydroxide ions to form propylene glycol. The substance is also used to create fog for theatrical productions, as a solvent for certain compounds, and as a preservative for certain pharmaceutical compounds.

Uses of Propylene Glycol

– Food preservative: Propylene glycol is added to food to increase its shelf life. It is found in many baked goods, processed fruits, and meats. – Solvent: In the pharmaceutical industry, propylene glycol is used as a solvent to dissolve certain compounds. – Antifreeze: When mixed with water, propylene glycol makes a safe antifreeze for cars and other vehicles that is also non-toxic to animals. – Fog: For theatrical productions, propylene glycol is used to create foggy atmospheres. – Cleaning: The chemical is also used in cleaning products, such-as in vaporizers and shampoos.

Properties of Propylene Glycol

– Ease of Absorption: Propylene glycol is readily absorbed by the human body. This means that it is immediately available for use in the bloodstream. – Toxicity: Despite its ease of absorption, propylene glycol is a relatively safe chemical that has low toxicity levels. – Flavor: Its flavor is not very strong or noticeable in food or drinks. – Sweetness: Propylene glycol has a slightly sweet taste that is less strong than table sugar. – Odor: This chemical has no odor, which allows it to be used as a fragrance-free alternative to certain cleaning products. – Appearance: When dissolved in water, propylene glycol has a colorless, clear appearance.

How Is Propylene Glycol Made?

Propylene glycol is made from propylene, which is a byproduct of crude oil. Propylene is reacted with hydroxide ions to form propylene glycol. The crude oil is first treated at a refinery to separate the different compounds and compounds. The propylene is then reacted with hydroxide ions to form glycol. Propylene glycol is then purified, dried, and bottled.

Is Propylene Glycol Safe?

Propylene glycol has low toxicity levels and is considered safe for use in food and beverages. It is also an effective preservative that helps keep food fresh for longer. However, when in high concentrations or in direct contact with the skin, propylene glycol may cause irritation or allergic reactions in some people. In rare cases, it may even cause organ damage. It is important to follow the instructions on the product label and avoid contact with sensitive areas such as the eyes, mouth, and open wounds.

Side Effects of Propylene Glycol

Despite being a generally safe chemical, there are certain side effects associated with prolonged exposure to propylene glycol. – Allergic Reactions: When ingested or in direct contact with the skin, this chemical may cause allergic reactions in some people. – Organ Damage: In rare cases, prolonged exposure to propylene glycol may cause organ damage. – Kidney Damage: Repeated exposure may cause kidney damage in sensitive populations such as people with diabetes, pregnant women, and individuals who are taking antibiotics. – Fetal Harm: In pregnant women, long-term exposure may cause harm to the fetus. – Respiratory Problems: People with asthma may experience respiratory problems after prolonged exposure to propylene glycol.


Propylene glycol is a colorless, odorless, and syrupy chemical that is primarily used as an additive in food and beverages. It is also used for other industrial applications, such as antifreeze and solvent. Although it has low toxicity levels, prolonged exposure may cause allergic reactions, organ damage, and respiratory problems in some people. Propylene glycol has several uses and properties that make it a useful chemical in many industries. For more information on Propylene Glycol and its uses, including information on Propylene Glycol health effects, and other interesting facts.