Diethylene glycol is a component of antifreeze. It was found in a one percent concentration by FDA in electronic cigarette cartridges. It is used as a humectant for tobacco, as well as in synthetic sponges, paper products, in cork compositions, and book-binding adhesives. It is used as an antifreeze solution for sprinkler systems, water seals for gas tanks, and as a lubricating and finishing agent for wool, worsted, cotton, rayon and silk, and as a solvent for vat dyes. It is a component of brake fluids, lubricants, mold release agents and inks. It was found present as a contaminant in Austrian and German wines, after it was added to improve sweetness. It is also used in the lacquer industry and in cosmetics.
It can cause central nervous system depression, lesions in liver and kidneys, and anuria (failure of the kidneys to produce urine). A therapeutic preparation of 10% sulfanilamine in about 70% diethylene glycol, before it was withdrawn from the market, was implicated in 105 uremic deaths. It can cause pulmonary edema, pericardial hemorrhage.
Related Sourcewatch resources
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration News and Events/Public Health Focus Summary of Results: Laboratory Analysis of Electronic Cigarettes Conducted By FDA July 22, 2009
- Hazardous Substances Data Bank Diethylene glycol 12-page computer printout. April 30, 1991. Philip Morris Bates No. 2024589848/9859