propylene glycol in electronic cigarettes – Safety and health risks
Todays modern e-cigarette cartrdiges or e-liquids are is composed of primary propylene glycol. General at 80% and in some brands as high as 92%. This is how e-cigs get the vapor that looks like cigarette smoke when exhaled from the lungs.
PG for short, is practically odorless, colorless and has a syrup like density that comes from a natural gas. It is very common and is found in many products around your home. There are a lot of websites out there promoting natural products that are trying to claim PG is a bad for you but it is completely safe according to the FDA. Whether it’s completely safe for inhalation on a daily basis is probably not 100% safe but considering the alternative of tobacco and it’s 2000 known chemicals; it’s the safer of the two.
Here’s some of the other products it is found in:
- Cake mixes
- salad dressings
- soft drinks
- food colorings
- fat-free ice cream
- sour cream
- preservative for freezing foods
- baby wipes
- Pet food
- Asthma inhalers
- cosmetics – lipsick
- non-toxic automotive antifreezes
Propylene Glycol Studies
The following is the abstract from a study done by the following doctors: O. H. ROBERTSON, CLAYTON G. LOOSLI, THEODORE T. PUCK, HENRY WISE, HENRY M. LEMON and WILLIAM LESTER, JR. It is entitled: TESTS FOR THE CHRONIC TOXICITY OF PROPYLEXE GLYCOL AND TRIETHYLENE GLYCOL ON MONKEYS AND RATS BY VAPOR INHALATION AND ORAL ADMINISTRATION -
“With a view to determining the safety of employing the vapors of propylene glycol and triethylene glycol in atmospheres inhabited by human beings, monkeys and rats were exposed continuously to high concentrations of these vapors for periods of 12 to 18 months. Equal numbers of control animals were maintained under physically similar conditions. Long term tests of the effects on ingesting triethylene glycol were also carried out. The doses administered represented 50 to 700 times the amount of glycol the animal could absorb by breathing air saturated with the glycol.
Comparative observations on the growth rates, blood counts, urine examinations, kidney function tests, fertility and general condition of the test and control groups, exhibited no essential differences between them with the exception that the rats in the glycol atmospheres exhibited consistently higher weight gains. Some drying of the skin of the monkeys’ faces occurred after several months continuous exposure to a heavy fog of triethylene glycol. However, when the vapor concentration was maintained just below saturation by means of the glycostat this effect did not occur.
Examination at autopsy likewise failed to reveal any differences between the animals kept in glycolized air and those living in the ordinary room atmosphere. Extensive histological study of the lungs was made to ascertain whether the glycol had produced any generalized or local irritation. None was found. The kidneys, liver, spleen and bone marrow also were normal.
The results of these experiments in conjunction with the absence of any observed ill effects in patients exposed to both triethylene glycol and propylene glycol vapors for months at a time, provide assurance that air containing these vapors in amounts up to the saturation point is completely harmless. source . http://jpet.aspetjournals.org/content/91/1/52.abstract
Allergies & possible side effects
There are very low risks of being allergic to PG but in the rare cases of people who cannot tolerate PG experience a special form of irritation, but that they only rarely develop allergic contact dermatitis. Patients with eczema have a slighter risk of having a reaction but it’s only slightly about 2%. The few people who have an irritation towards propylene glycol have found success using Vegetable glycerin as an alternate to propylene glycol in their e-cigarette.
There are very few side effects from the inhalation of electronic cigarettes or e-liquid. Some of the sides I experience at first were dry mouth and some mild head aches from inhaling too often. Most of the side effects are the ones you get from quitting tobacco such as bad breath, constipation, appetite increase, stomach pain, breakouts, insomnia, depression, gas, vertigo. These will be reduced by switching to an e-cig as your nicotine levels will only slightly drop at first.