What is propylene glycol?

This is a guest post written by LadyStrick9, from Chesapeake, VA who often refers to herself as a “vapaholic”.

What is PG? According to Wikipedia, “Propylene Glycol Alginate, or PGA, is an additive used mainly as a thickening agent in certain types of food. It is made from the kelp plant or from certain kinds of algae, which is processed and transformed into a yellowish, grainy chemical powder. The powder is then added to foods that require thickening. Propylene Glycol Alginate has been used for many years as a food preservative. Many food manufacturing companies use it in the most common household food items.”

Juices & carts without PG

The February 1, 2012 blog post, “Four Different E-Liquid Lines”, by Audrey Schroder, offers a detailed description of products designed for people with a PG sensitivity. “The majority of the population has no problems with using PG products, as the substance is used in everyday products such as food additives and inhalers. Since this kind of liquid only has VG as opposed to both VG and PG, it is slightly thicker.” Vapor4Life offers WOW Vapor VG carts and juices in Traditional Tobacco (formerly known as Cowboy), Wowboy, Coffee, Vanilla, Chocolate, Cafe Mocha, and 555 and come in all seven strengths (0, 4, 8, 11, 18, 24, and 36mg).

3D Model of Propylene Glycol Molecule http://bit.ly/IfbLbx

PG in many products

Allergic reactions to PG are varied, according to comments reviewed on a thread on the ECF Forum. No need to be alarmed, however, as very few people are sensitive to PG. According to Wikipedia “The acute oral toxicity of propylene glycol is very low”. For example, did you know that PG is used in the following everyday products?

  • Food: Cake mixes, salad dressings, soft drinks, popcorn, food colorings, fat-free ice cream and sour cream. It also protects food from freezing and can be used as a preservative.
  • Toiletries and cosmetics: Lotions, creams, some baby wipes, shampoos, antiperspirants, cosmetics, lipstick, lubricants
  • Other household items: Room deodorizers, cleaners, sanitizers and yes, new “non-toxic” and “safe” automotive antifreezes

Sarah’s story

One of the members on the Vapor4Life Forum (we’ll call her ‘Sarah’), has a sensitivity to PG. Sarah explains that she did not know she was allergic to PG before she began vaping. In addition to Sarah’s sensitivity to PG in vaping juices, she must also be aware of PG in foods and other products. But, the good news is that Sarah doesn’t have to stop vaping, she simply uses juices that do not contain PG. Sarah’s favorite VG juices from Vapor4Life are Vanilla and Chocolate.

Hopefully now when people talk about PG and VG in relation to e-cigs, you’ll have a better understanding of it.

You can usually find LadyStrick9 on the V4L Forum networking with members and guests.

13 thoughts on “What is propylene glycol?

  1. I’ve never had a problem with PG but did not realize it came from seaweed and algae, which gives a better explanation as to why some people are allergic to it. Is it chemically classified as an “ester”?

    Thanks for the great article Lady!

    • Loves Greyhounds, until I did some research, I didn’t know it either! But, it’s such a common ingredient! Thanks for your kind Reply :)

    • Loves Greyhounds PG is a sugar-alcohol without getting into a long drawn out discussion of molecular chemistry it is a an Ester.

      Good stuff LS9!!!

      • Thank you Snowdragon. I totally missed that part of Loves Greyhound’s question (sorry LG). But, I would possibly have needed to consult with Snowdragon anyway! LOL Now he’s saved me from that necessity. Thanks for your input Snowdragon :)

      • Thank you for the info Snowdragon. I loved chemistry in college but here is not the place to discuss it, I know.
        Thanks again!
        Loves Greyhounds

  2. Great info Lady. I guess since I was born under the sign of the crab and the crab is a sea type creature that I take to PG like a crab to water! 6 months ago I didn’t know a PG from a VG! It is just amazing how much stuff there is to learn about vaping! Keep that info coming!

    • Bjfgator, it was a little shocking to me, as well, to learn the source of PG. And, I agree with you, there are tons of details about vaping that I continue to learn on a daily basis.

      Thanks for your Reply Ms. Gator!

  3. “(we’ll call her ‘Sarah’)” [img]http://librum.us/images/smileys/stirpot.gif[/img]

    But it is true that I was unaware of my sensitivity, as I had rare/no contact due to the environment I live in. (Wholesome real food, etc.)

    Lady, might I suggest you expand this? There are quite a few different types of reactions. I would be interested in the others.

    BTW: One can now get powdered VG, for canning.

    of the Librum

    • Sarah, I very much appreciate your comments. You are certainly one of the few people to have a genuine sensitivity to PG. I will check into possibly expanding upon this in a future blog. You will notice that I did include a link to ECF’s Thread regarding the the various reactions. That discussion went into great detail. Also, should anyone want to know more details regarding the type of reactions that I uncovered in my research, I am more than happy to answer any questions via email at ladystricknine@gmail.com.

      I was not aware that PG is available in a powder form for canning. Thank you for sharing that information.

      Thank you Sarah, for your continued comments and interest. Your contributions on the V4L Forum are so very valuable and helpful to our members.

      • Whoops, forgot something.

        If a vaper suspects a PG reaction, they are often advised to switch to a VG juice. But be warned that many sellers do not realize that the flavorings may also be PG. They, unknowingly, advertize such as ‘pure’ VG. A really sensitive person should be aware of this.

        This was a hard lesson for me. And the vaper should be aware of the other flavor carriers that are related to PG (PG200 and PG400 and ‘Tri’) can also effect the vaper.

        V4L is one of the very few who actually made/make sure that their VG only juices are really all VG. It is that QC that goes on ‘behind the scenes’ that makes V4L such a great group of folks.

        Another BTW: Some time ago, I did some research into which juices AND FLAVORINGS were truly VG, and posted my list on another forum, the eJuice Me Up forum, if anyone is interested, or needs it.

        of the Librum

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