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Chemical Sampling Information (CSI)
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General Description

Synonyms: 1,2-Dihydroxypropane; Methylethylene glycol; Monopropylene glycol; 1,2-Propanediol, 1,2-Propylene glycol; 1,2-Propylenglycol

OSHA IMIS Code Number: P108

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 57-55-6

NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: TY2000000

Chemical Description and Physical Properties:

colorless, odorless, hygroscopic, viscous liquid
molecular weight: 76.11
vapor pressure: 0.05 mmHg @ 20°C
molecular formula: C3H8O2
boiling point: 188.2°C
melting point: -59°C
flash point: 99°C open cup

Health Factors

Potential Symptoms: Irritation of eyes, skin, respiratory tract; throat dryness, cough; SKIN ABS

Health Effects: Irritation-Eyes, Nose, Throat, Skin---Mild (HE16)

Affected Organs: Eyes, skin, respiratory system


  1. OSHA does not have a PEL for propylene glycol.
  2. Propylene glycol is listed by the FDA as a direct food substance that is generally recognized as safe (GRAS), the maximum allowable percentage ranging from 2% to 97% for specific food substances (21 CFR 184.6666).
  3. Although several cases of allergy to propylene glycol have been reported, with an increased risk in those having lower leg dermatitis, deliberate attempts to sensitize skin in human and animal studies have yielded negative results.
  4. The mean half-lives of propylene glycol in serum (or plasma) after intravenous, rectal or multi-dose oral administration to adults have been reported to be 2.3, 2.8, and approximately 4 hours, respectively.
  5. Propylene glycol is excreted in the urine unchanged and as a glucuronic acid conjugate. Some is metabolized by alcohol dehydrogenase to lactaldehyde and then by aldehyde dehydrogenase to lactic acid. Intoxication with propylene glycol could cause excessive production of lactic acid and result in metabolic acidosis.

Literature Basis:

  • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Propylene glycol.
  • EPA Integrated Risk Information System: Propylene glycol (CASRN 57-55-6).
  • Lessmann, H., Schnuch, A., Geier, J. and Uter, W.: Skin-sensitizing and irritant properties of propylene glycol. Contact Dermatitis 53(5): 247-259, 2005.
  • Kollöffel, W.J., Weekers, L.E. and Goldhoorn, P.B.: Pharmacokinetics of propylene glycol after rectal administration. Pharm. World Sci. 18(3): 109-113, 1996.
  • Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Propylene Glycol. In, Sittig?s Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 2. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 1971-1972.
  • Speth, P.A., et al.: Propylene glycol pharmacokinetics and effects after intravenous infusion in humans. Ther. Drug. Monit. 9(3): 255-258, 1987.
  • Wieslander, G., Norbäck, D. and Lindgren, T.: Experimental exposure to propylene glycol mist in aviation emergency training: acute ocular and respiratory effects. Occup. Environ. Med. 58(10): 649-655, 2001.
  • Yu, D.K., Elmquist, W.F. and Sawchuk, R.J.: Pharmacokinetics of propylene glycol in humans during multiple dosing regimens. J. Pharm. Sci. 74(8): 876-879, 1985.

Date Last Revised: 05/08/2007

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):

  • sampling media: OSHA Versatile Sampler (OVS-7) - 13 mm XAD-7 tube (270/140 mg sections, 20/60 mesh) with a Glass Fiber Filter enclosed
    analytical solvent: Methanol
    maximum volume: 60 Liters
    maximum flow rate: 1 L/min (TWA)
    minimum volume: 15 Liters
    minimum flow rate: 1 L/min (Ceiling)
    current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FID
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA PV2051)
    method classification: Partially Validated
    note: Ship cold to the laboratory for analysis.

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