Posted April 14, 2016 by Daniel Archibald-Jones in Information & Articles

Does E Cig E-Liquid Contain Anti-Freeze?

Don’t panic! No they don’t, and here’s why.

The Backstory

There was a little bit of a media scrum surrounding a FDA report all the way back in 2009 that suggested during routine testing of a pack of 18 cartridges, a single one had been found to include 1% ofdiethylene glycol.

DG isn’t even antifreeze – but it is an ingredient, and of course something that deserved responsible follow up investigation to ensure public health. As a side note it’s worth remembering that there were very few people vaping, and that the quality of electronic cigarettes and cartridges was a fraction of what comes as standard today.

This is the only case wherediethylene glycol has ever been found to contaminate an e-liquid.

Where The Confusion Begins

Much of the issue – especially seven years ago – was that people were even more unfamiliar with the chemical ingredients used to create e-liquid as they were to using them as a replacement for tobacco. All chemicals sounds scary to plenty of people, and the root of the confusion is that ‘glycol’ is also used in the descriptive name for the two flavour carrying & vape producing chemicals used to various degrees in almost all e-liquids. These are:

  • Propylene Glycol (PG) – primarily carries natural flavourings
  • Vegetable Glycerin (VG) – thicker fluid that encourages cloud production

Both of these have been used in many household food products quite literally for decades, alongside an association with either old fashioned anti-freeze that was replaced by DG (lower freezing point). Only PG has any role nowadays, in specialist brands to reduce the toxicity if accidentally ingested.

DG however is one of the many unpleasant toxic chemicals to be found within tobacco processing, and is big news still in China where it makes regular appearances in counterfeit medicines.

For those who are wondering that, even still this nasty chemical was found once – surely that must be cause for huge concern? The reassuring answer is absolutely not, as to achieve a lethal dose – caused directly by DG poisoning alone it’s estimated to require a person to smoke three quarters of a million cigarettes – in one single day!

So What Happened Next?

As hinted at above there was a media meltdown and the FDA reciprocated in kind, expressing concerns to the handful of companies pioneering the development of e-liquids that they needed tighter regulation and quality control, the former of which hasn’t occurred while the latter has been taken in-hand by the manufacturers individually. The massive competition in the e-liquid market literally demands that products are superb quality, all the way down from taste and sensation to the ingredients used in production.

Like everything though it’s always best to get e-liquids from reputable companies rather than discounted imported non-branded ranges, usually hailing from China. Although even still, the chances of these being toxic are minuscule – they just probably won’t taste very nice.

In Conclusion

It really is a great example of scaremongering when a single percentage of a chemical found in one cartridge in one case seven years ago still get’s brought up now and again. Attitudes have changed enormously since then, and soon it’s a story that will be long forgotten – but no, your e-liquid will not contain anti-freeze, or even a component of it.