What is Propylene Glycol?
Propylene Glycol. The name alone turns people off to understanding this molecule and why it’s important to e-cig technology. With the recent market boom of electronic cigarettes and the attention of the national media onto their ingredients and safety, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the honest facts. This is especially true if you’re an e-smoker yourself, you should know what you’re inhaling at all times!
We’ve gone through many, many (boring) sources and put together a full 2-part series on propylene glycol for your convenience. Make sure you check it out if you’re an e-cigarette owner who is unsure of how e-liquid works,
Part 1 will focus on how Propylene Glycol is everywhere you look, as well as include an important segment on its overall safety. Part 2 will focus on the nicotine absorbing and vaporizing aspects of Propylene Glycol in e-cigarette technology
Minimum 99.5% purity USP grade Kosher certified suitable for use as a carrier base and dilutant for Wizard Labs organic Nicotine solutions.
Chemical Formula: C3H8O2
Color: Clear Colorless
Synonyms: 1,2-Dihydroxypropane; Methylethylene glycol; Monopropylene glycol; 1,2-Propylene glycol; 1,2-Propanediol; 2-Hydroxypropanol
Of course all of the misinformation and media sensationalism has been sorted right out of both parts. Below is Part 1 of the series! Enjoy the pure facts.
Propylene Glycol Simplified (Safety Overview)
Propylene glycol is pretty simple in its pure form, which is a good sign of something you’re ingesting. As a liquid at room temperature, it is clear-colored and basically odorless with a taste that is slightly sweet. While it is a liquid at room temperature, it is physically (not chemically) transformed from liquid to vapor state with the application of heat or brisk shaking. As you can see from its pure physical properties alone, it has an application for vaporization and electronic cigarettes (discussed in Part 2). But of course propylene glycol is not some new untested chemical used in e-cigs, it’s been used across the world for many years for its more specific qualities.
Propylene Glycol is mostly valued for its variety use as an additive in products whose main ingredients aren’t directly usable. It is added to any number of unusable smorgus boards of active ingredients to stable, usable, transportable, sellable, consumer-friendly, etc. Skipping the chemist-babble, here are basically the four main reasons it’s used (there are others but they are specific):
1. As a solvent to dissolve insoluble ingredients into a usable form (ie. diluting nicotine in e-liquid)
2. To combine and deliver two necessary ingredients together if they can’t normally mix into one form (ie. oil and water in shampoo)
3. To preserve or moisturize by absorbing and retaining moisture (ie. to prevent mold in food)
4. To regulate temperatures to achieve the desired physical state of substances. (ie. deicers)
How do any of these relate to e-cigs? They all do! Check out Part 2 for exactly how Propylene Glycol is used in electronic cigarettes, along with why it’s proven safe.
Where Is It? Everywhere.
As you can tell by these uses, this stuff is necessary to an incredible amount of products and it exists everywhere in the world you live and breathe in. The food you eat, the cosmetics you apply, the toiletries you rely on daily, the medicine you take, the car you drive, the raves you attend…I could go on and on. It surrounds you. It’s an amazing substance because it is spread throughout so many different industries. Below is a list of the four industries that literally require propylene glycol to survive and the products involved. E-Cigs are among this list, see Part 2 for the full scoop on how electronic cigarettes wouldn’t exist without it!
○ Nebulous inhalers (all prescription and OTC inhalers!)
○ Topical medications
○ Injected medications
○ Cough Syrup
○ Vitamins and hormones
Used to carry flavor and preserve foods like:
○ Frozen Foods
○ Cattle and pet food
Personal Care Products
○ Non-Toxic Anti-Freeze
○ Non-Toxic De-Icer
○ Paint Thinner
○ Polyester Compounds
But Is it SAFE?
Yes. Propylene glycol has a widespread reputation as a completely safe substance for use in pharmaceuticals, food flavoring, pet feed, cosmetics and much more. It’s been used in these products since the middle of last century, 50 years ago, without any issues or unknown health repercussions popping up. All of the world’s reputable organizations for determining health risks agree that this is a benign substance, see the Part 2 for more information about what the FDA and similar institutions have said about it. Studies have found that prop. glycol has a low level of toxicity, and it should be noted that toxic substances are acceptably consumed all the time in low amounts.
There has been no known repercussions of long-term use of propylene glycol, not even when humans have been ingesting it in their food flavorings such a long time. This really says something about the overall safety. According to studies, propylene glycol is broken down the body in the same manner as sugar; it turns into lactic acid in the muscles during physical activity. There is toxic propylene glycol. This is the type found in de-icers and antifreeze used industrially, but this is not the form found in electronic cigarettes.
Alright, that was your crash course on Propylene Glycol! As I wrote it I was learning much of it for the first time and I hope you enjoyed this look at the substance that us e-smokers should definitely know about.