Dr. Theodore Puck’s historic research shows benefits of propylene glycol

Dr. Theodore Puck’s historic research shows benefits of propylene glycol

When the world-class scientist Dr. Theodore Puck passed away in 2005 at the ripe, old age of 89, The New York Times eulogized is passing by highlighting his many discoveries involving the secret benefits of propylene glycol.   Not only is this substance a common ingredient found in e-liquids used in vaping devices, propylene glycol is also often found in ice creams, cake frostings, soft drinks, artificial sweeteners, and many cosmetics and grooming supplies.  So, even though anti-tobacco lobbyists love to claim that vaping is just as dangerous as smoking, research compiled decades ago by Dr. Puck and his research team seem to prove otherwise.

Decades-old research on vaporized propylene glycol

In a scientific study published more than 70-years ago in the U.S. National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes Health (NLB-NIH), Puck and his team successfully documented that vaporized propylene glycol kills several forms of airborne bacteria that can wreak havoc on public health.  When heated to 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, propylene glycol vapor kills such illness-inducing bacteria as pneumococci, streptococci and staphylococci.

“Data are presented showing the minimum glycol concentration necessary for effective bactericidal action on various microorganisms. Pneumococci were killed by amounts of propylene glycol as low as 1 gm. in 20 million cc. of air. Concentrations of 1 to 5 million to 1 to 10 million were required to produce the same degree of killing of streptococci and staphylococci. The observations here reported add further support to the previously proposed conception of the mechanism of the lethal action of propylene glycol vapor, namely, that a bactericidal concentration of the glycol accumulates in the bacterial droplet as a result of contact with and absorption of glycol molecules from the surrounding atmosphere.”

What illnesses can these bacteria cause?  Well, pneumococci is known to cause pneumonia, sepsis of the blood, middle ear infections, and even bacterial meningitis.  Streptococci, on the other hand, can lead to everything from strep throat to streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS).  Meanwhile, staphylococci can also lead to many of these same medical disorders, but the more common ailments attributed to this bacterium include skin infections and rashes, scalded skin syndrome, endocarditis, and osteomyelitis, just to name a few. 

So, the next time that someone complains of the perceived toxicities of second-hand vapor from e-cigs and vape mods, they can now quote Dr. Theodore Puck’s research from 1945.  The study entitled The Bactericidal action of propylene glycol vapor on microorganisms suspended in air may be over seven decades old, but it still appears on the NLB-NIH website for the entire world to see.  


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