In man, propylene glycol has caused skin and mucous membrane irritation. It has produced skin sensitization reactions in several individuals and when taken orally can also induce skin rashes. Administration by the oral or injection routes was associated with severe effects on the central nervous system and metabolic disruptions. Blood effects (excessive osmotic pressure) resulted from repeated intravenous injections or applications to damaged skin.

The glycol was minimally irritating to the eyes of rabbits. A low acute toxicity has been demonstrated in laboratory animals treated orally; damage to the intestine and kidney and symptoms involving the central nervous system were the principal findings. Repeated exposure of rats to a propylene glycol aerosol produced local injury. The blood was the main site of injury in cats and dogs given multiple oral doses, with evidence of red blood cell damage being noted. Effects on the blood, liver, kidney and caecum of rats were reported in studies involving repeated oral administration. At high and maternally toxic dietary concentrations, propylene glycol induced reproductive effects in rats. No malformations were seen in a range of species when pregnant animals were treated orally.

There was no evidence of carcinogenicity in rats treated by repeated oral administration, and more limited skin-painting studies in mice and rabbits also failed to detect carcinogenic potential. Propylene glycol was not mutagenic in Ames bacterial assays. It gave indications of a weak action on the chromosomes of mammalian cells in culture. Studies of chromosomal effects in rodents treated orally or by injection have, in general, given negative results.

Date of Publication: 1996

Number of Pages: 16

CAS Number*: 57-55-6

Format: PDF available for immediate download

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