Perhaps most famously, propylene glycol is a major component of many types of antifreeze. It's less toxic than ethylene glycol, but it is still toxic. If you consume it, you may die. So, why is this critical ingredient in antifreeze in our food?
Because it's legal to add it to foods in the United States. This ingredient is outlawed in most other industrialized nations, because it is synthetic and toxic. It does not occur naturally in food, and the only reason it is added is as a preservative of moisture. Not that it is the only way to preserve moisture, but because it is cheap.
In other words, the food industry is putting antifreeze into your favorite foods because in the United States, they can. In other countries, they find less toxic solutions.
What happens if you are exposed to propylene glycol?
Allergic Reactions: One of the primary concerns surrounding propylene glycol is its potential to cause allergic reactions. While such reactions are relatively rare, they can occur in individuals with heightened sensitivity to the chemical. Symptoms may include skin irritation, itching, redness, and even dermatitis. Those prone to allergies should exercise caution when using products containing propylene glycol and seek alternative options if necessary.
Respiratory Issues: Propylene glycol is known to have a negative impact on respiratory health. When inhaled, the chemical can cause irritation and inflammation in the airways, leading to symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Prolonged exposure to high levels of propylene glycol may even contribute to the development of respiratory conditions like asthma. Individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions should be particularly cautious.
Skin Sensitization: Propylene glycol has the potential to sensitize the skin over time. Continuous exposure to the chemical may cause the skin to become increasingly sensitive, resulting in heightened reactions to other substances or environmental factors. This increased sensitivity can lead to discomfort and difficulties in finding suitable products that do not trigger adverse skin reactions.
Toxicity Concerns: Although propylene glycol is considered generally safe for consumption in small quantities, its toxicity becomes a concern when exposure exceeds certain limits. Ingesting or absorbing large amounts of propylene glycol can overwhelm the body's ability to metabolize and eliminate it, potentially leading to toxic effects. High doses have been linked to nausea, dizziness, and even damage to the central nervous system.
Environmental Impact: Propylene glycol's impact extends beyond human health concerns. Its widespread use and disposal can have detrimental effects on the environment. Improper disposal of products containing propylene glycol may result in contamination of water sources and aquatic ecosystems. Furthermore, the production of propylene glycol involves energy-intensive processes that contribute to carbon emissions and environmental degradation.
What brands add antifreeze to your food food for bigger profits?
Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts:
- Ben & Jerry's
Salad Dressings and Condiments:
- Hidden Valley
Packaged Baked Goods:
- Little Debbie
Soft Drinks and Carbonated Beverages:
- Mountain Dew
Fruit Juices and Flavored Drinks:
- Minute Maid
- Capri Sun
Ready-to-Eat Puddings and Gelatins:
- Snack Pack
- Kozy Shack
Remember, the only reason antifreeze is in your food is because it is legal in the United States to add it in the name of profit.