« PEG-100 Stearate | Main | Methylisothiazolinone »


Today's Chemical:


EWG Risk Score:


What is it?

Propanediol is a clear, thick liquid used in formulas to control viscosity. Also known as 1,3 propylene glycol, it is an isomer of the more widely-used chemical, propylene glycol. 

Is it a risk?

Propanediol does not appear to pose any significant risks when used diluted in a cosmetic formula, based on current research. However, the manufacturing of propanediol does pose potential environmental and health concerns. It can be produced from acrolein, a compound found in cigarette smoke that may contribute to lung cancer. (Source) While this wouldn't pose a risk in the finished product of propanediol, there may be exposures to workers and the environment, especially if produced in countries with less-than-stringent working and environmental regulations. 

You may also see propanediol created from "natural" sources. The most widely-distributed form is made by DuPont Chemical, created from (most likely GMO) corn syrup and a genetically-modified strain of e coli bacteria. (Source)

It can also be produced from fermenting glycerol with genetically modified bacteria. (Source)

Can be a skin allergen. (Source)

Steph's Opinion:

Propanediol as a finished ingredient doesn't pose significant health risks unless you have an allergy to the ingredient. However, when you see propanediol in a product marketed as "natural," think GMOs because it has most likely been created with either genetically-modified bacteria or from GMO corn (or both.) 

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (1)

My husband got a terrible reaction to a deodorant based on this ingredient. When I read negative reviews on that and similar products, I could find many more examples of such bad reaction. It burned his skin! He got small blisters and terrible redness.
I recommend that everyone stay away from this ingredient that can be a strong irritant.
I did a lot of research on this ingredient and also found DuPont as the main producer, that should be a red flag on its own.

Mon, March 7, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDana

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>