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.