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
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!