Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Enough about Propylene Glycol in Soap

OK! Enough already! I've had it with the environmental rhetoric about Propylene Glycol in Soap. I hate to beat a dead horse to its second death... but I must. I can’t stop myself from sounding off. And why not? Everyone else on the web seems to be voicing an opinion about this 'alleged' toxic ingredient. For those of you who don’t know, PG (propylene glycol) is a common ingredient found in melt and pour soap base. Not just soap base, but also in certain medicines, cosmetics, and food products to name a few.

I happened upon a post today from someone out there in cyber space spouting out claims that PG is an inappropriate ingredient for cosmetics and foods because it is also used in products such as antifreeze. I normally would have ignored the post had it not specifically mentioned our web site and the fact that our soap base contains this ingredient (as well as a most every other soap supply company on the web). My brother-in-law is a bio-chemist and someone quite knowledgeable and informed about chemistry. I have discussed this whole PG issue with him on numerous occasions. His opinion is the same as mine. The environmental rhetoric about PG found on the web is well-intended but ultimately not exactly accurate. I will refrain from making sidebar comments about those uninformed individuals on the web posting criticism about propylene glycol. And who, for the most part, have just copy and pasted something they found on some message board as being gospel rather than doing some legitimate research.

Here’s my Yadda Yadda on the subject….

1) It is ethylene glycol, for example, which is a more common ingredient in antifreeze and which is, in fact, highly toxic. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) actually recommends the use of propylene glycol-based antifreeze because it is safer than ethylene glycol should pets accidentally ingest it. Simply because propylene glycol has many different applications does not make all the products which contain it the same.

To the cyber-space PG queen who made the following post,

"Propylene Glycol is apparently an organic compound, manufactured by the hydration of propylene oxide... not safe for cat food or for estrogen creams if used post-menopausal women, but considered acceptable for moisturizers, food, tobacco products, and antifreeze, among other things.

"I reply (and I'm keeping it brief as best I can!)....

PG and Propylene Oxide are two entirely different things. Propylene Glycol is not the same ingredient used in anti-freeze. As mentioned above, it is ethylene glycol. There are newer and improved anti-freeze brands on the market today that actually use PG and may be labeled as "non-toxic antifreeze". Even then, its use in anti-freeze is intended to protect the product from freezing in the winter. I again repeat, simply because propylene glycol has many different applications does not make all the products which contain it the same.

Propylene glycol is considered a safe and appropriate ingredient not just for cosmetic products, but also for ingested products like food and pharmaceuticals. It is on the US Food and Drug Administration's list of ingredients which are Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) and is recognized by the World Health Organization as safe for use.

For the record, MSDS sheets for propylene glycol contain no indications of carcinogenicity or chronic exposure effects. The concentrated form (and I emphasize concentrated) of the ingredient can, however, cause temporary reddening, stinging or swelling when it comes in contact with the eyes or skin. This indication does not mean that a product formulated with the ingredient will have irritating properties.

If you really want to do your homework, try reading the 260+ pages of toxicology findings on propylene glycol at this site: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp96.pdf

Final comment.

I have been in the soap making business for a good number of years. I find that many of those on the bandwagon of some suspected "toxic" ingredient (I'm talking soap here!) are often guilty of other things that are unhealthy to the body or harmful to the environment, such as....

1) smoke cigarettes

2) drink alcohol in excess

3) drive without a seat belt

4) overeat, don't exercise

5) fail to recyle... the list goes on

Please don't email me about this post, I won't respond. Just this once, I want to post my two-cents without any feedback. Thanks!


angelsandfaes said...

I know you said you don't want feedback but I think your 2 cents is just about the most sensible common sense I've read on the subject so far. People just type it in the seats bar and read the first thing that pops up (which is most likely the worst info about something) and runs with it. Usually with their mouths running and not giving the correct or at least the full info about it. So I'll spend your 2 cents as worthy and raise you my 2 cents. I AGREE! Thank you for putting this out there.

NauticaMourey said...

Right on! I have had a few people tell me that they would not purchase my soaps because PG is used in the bases that I make them from. My response was basically....oh well..your loss! Thank you for getting the positive and accurate word out!

Anonymous said...

Just remember just cause the FDA said its ok doesn't always mean its ok!

Denise said...

Dear Anonymous, I counter-pose your comment with this: Don't believe the scare tactics used by sites opposed to FDA findings. Secondly, if you truly stand behind your post, why post anonymously? I don't give much validity to anonymous posts.

Starlight said...

I just started making melt and pour soap and was curious about the ingredient. This post helped me out. Thank you


Sakmaquil said...

Thank you thank you thank you I would like to add to the list of unresearched and lied about substances monosodium glutamate, hydrogenated oil, and mono diglicerides. Shame on me I allowed them to be taken from me from a word of mouth report and missed out on the benefits that they do provide an attributed risk that they did not have at all. We must research for our selves. Thanks again for your yadda yadda