Propylene Glycol

Propylene Glycol: A Multipurpose Chemical for Many Industries

Propylene glycol is a synthetic organic alcohol with the ability to attract and retain water. Propylene glycol has a variety of functions in a myriad of industries, including pharmaceutical, food and beverage, and personal care. Below are only a few uses of propylene glycol in these industries.

  • When propylene glycol’s purity exceeds 99.8%, USP and EP deem it acceptable for foods and pharmaceuticals. In this form, propylene glycol can be used as a solvent for aromatics, in elixirs for pharmaceutical compounds, as a humectant for the salivary glands to wet the mouth, or as a solvent and emulsifier in sunscreens and lotions.

  • The pharmaceutical industry adds multi-purpose propylene glycol as an inactive ingredient in oral, injectable, and topical medications. Because it decreases the viscosity of liquids, propylene glycol makes oral medications easier to pour. As a stabilizer, propylene glycol helps to deliver the precise amount of medication with each dose.

  • Dairy and brewing industries find propylene glycol’s properties convenient in low temperature heat-transfer fluids. Grocery stores often rely on propylene glycol in food display cases for this same reason.

  • The food industry has three separate but intertwined uses for propylene glycol: as a preservative, a stabilizer, and a humectant. Coffee, tree nuts, soda, baked goods, and salad dressings are only a few products that list propylene glycol as an ingredient as it helps deliver the same amount of flavor and moisture with each bite or sip.

  • Many cosmetics, including moisturizers, soaps, deodorants, facial cleansers, shampoos, and conditioners, contain propylene glycol as a moisturizer, solvent, and humectant. As a dispersant, propylene glycol is added to fragrances so the exact amount of odor is released with every spray.

With such a wide range of uses, propylene glycol will surely benefit your company. Order this chemical and many more from Bell Chem, your Florida chemical supply company. Bell Chem’s headquarters are located in Longwood, FL – just north of Orlando – with hundreds of products stocked in our 50,000+ square-foot warehouse. You can expect the highest quality products, expedited shipping options for maximum efficiency, and unrivaled personalized customer service. Let our knowledgeable and friendly customer service representatives and accounting staff handle all your needs by calling 407-339-BELL (2355) or send us an online message.

The Many Faces of Propylene Glycol

How often do you hear of a chemical that acts as an antifreeze, can be used to create polymers in the plastics industry, yet is safe enough to be used in food? Propylene glycol meets all those requirements and can be used in these capacities as well as dozens of others. Industrial chemical supplier, Bell Chem, discusses its uses:  

  • Propylene glycol absorbs water to maintain a correct moisture balance in medicines, cosmetics and food products.

  • When mixed with water, propylene glycol is utilized in the entertainment industry and for fire training exercises; as the ingredients added to a fog machine, the vaporization of this mixture is emitted as a dense fog. This same phenomenon works at home: propylene glycol is also used in home vaporizers.

  • In paints and plastics, propylene glycol is the choice for synthetic resins. In fact, a whopping 45% of propylene glycol produced is used as chemical feedstock in the production of unsaturated polyester resins.

  • Food colors and flavors have a propylene glycol base; it is almost completely odorless and tasteless and adds viscosity to products.

  • Electronic cigarettes utilize propylene glycol as its “e-liquid” with vegetable glycerin.

  • The pharmaceutical industry relies on propylene glycol as a solvent for many water insoluble oral, injectable, and topical drugs.

  • Ethylene glycol was the antifreeze of choice years ago, but this deadly concoction proved to be enticing for animals to consume. Propylene glycol is much safer for animals and consumers as a de-icing fluid.

  • Veterinarians find propylene glycol helpful in the oral treatment of hyperketonaemia in animals with a rumen.

  • The food industry adds propylene glycol to liquid sweeteners, ice cream, soda, whipped cream, and coffee-based beverages.


Learn more about this multifaceted chemical by calling industrial chemical supplier Bell Chem at (407) 339-BELL (2355) and speaking with one of our knowledgeable representatives. You can also contact us online.