What are propylene glycols?
Propylene Glycol

MPG: Safety

Propylene glycol: Safe use for over 50 years

The use and effects of propylene glycol have been thoroughly evaluated. This substance has been used safely for more than 50 years, including adoption in health-sensitive applications such as food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, where it mainly serves as a non-active ingredient or carrier of other substances.

Tests demonstrate that propylene glycol toxicity is very low. In the body under conditions of normal low exposure, propylene glycol is quickly metabolised and excreted. 

For the environment, tests shown that propylene glycol quickly degrades and hence does not persist nor does it bio-accumulate - it is readily biodegradable.

Accordingly, there is

  • no official hazard classification or labelling of propylene glycol, and
  • propylene glycol is not listed "negatively" in any country of the EU

In addition, all members of the sector group representing the producers of propylene glycol within Cefic are committed to Responsible Care®, a voluntary initiative of the chemical industry aimed at continuous improvement of their health, safety and environmental performance in handling chemicals.

Propylene glycol is known to be used as a carrier liquid in electronic cigarettes. Upon use of the electronic cigarettes, an artificial smoke is generated among others by fine droplets or mist of propylene glycol. While propylene glycol is a very safe compound, the producers of propylene glycol and members of Cefic's PO/PG sector group do not support the use of propylene glycol in electronic cigarettes, nor in artificial (theatrical) fogs due to possible effects on the eye, nose, throat, and respiratory tract membranes, as well as the absence of information on potential long term effects from prolonged inhalation of (fine) droplets of propylene glycol.