Diethylene glycol is a colorless and almost odorless liquid that is poisonous and has a sweet taste. It is produced through partial hydrolysis of ethylene oxide and is used in the manufacture of polyester resins, plasticizers, and polyurethanes and is used in some anti-freeze compounds. Why do you see us writing about it on this blog? It was found in some limited testing conducted on foreign assembled e cigarette cartridges by the FDA in the summer of 2009, so we wanted to make sure that you had the latest information on potential dangers associated with electronic cigarettes!
Diethylene Glycol Uses
You can find diethylene glycol used in the production of many common-day products that use plasticizers, polyethylenes, and polyester resins. It is also used as a common building block or solvent in other common applications such as glue, printing ink, brake fluid, cork, heating/cooking oil, and wallpaper stripper. It is also found in anti-freeze, although that is normally a by-product of ethylene glycol production.
What Harm Does Diethylene Glycol Do?
Diethylene glycol was first found to be toxic in 1937, however, its use has only been banned in use in food and drugs due to the large amount of the product required to prove toxic to people. The U.S. Federal Regulation Code mandates that there can be no more than 0.2% of the substance when used in food additives. Testing has shown that the substance’s toxicity has proven worse for people than on the animals that testing has been conducted upon.
Symptoms of Diethylene Glycol Poisoning
First, if you even suspect you have been poisoned by this or another substance, you should seek emergency help as soon as possible! Now, some symptoms of poisoning by diethylene glycol are:
First Phase – Vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Altered mental status, depression, and even coma in extreme cases has been observed.
Second Phase – (Approximately 1 to 3 days after significant digestion) – Metabolic acidosis, kidney failure, and even renal failure to name a few .
Final Phase – Occurs 5-10 days after significant ingestion. Facial paralysis, dysphonia, coma, quadriplegia, and even death.
Why Do Vapor Smokers Care About Diethylene Glycol?
The FDA conducted a limited study of two electronic cigarette brands in 2009. In that study, the U.S. FDA found that some of the e cig cartridges had above-acceptable-levels of diethylene glycol in the products. As a result, the FDA has stated that they could not verify the quality of electronic cigarette products. Unfortunately, there still does not reside an international or U.S. Standard of testing for diethylene glycol or other carcinogenic compounds in e cigarettes, so it is left to you the consumer, to do your due diligence and find reputable e cigarette companies who post their own testing results to see what the quality of product you are using really is!