The vaping and antifreeze rumor began in 2009 after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ran a series of tests involving 18 e-liquids from two leading manufacturers. Strangely, the FDA was very quick to report that one of the samples contained something called diethylene glycol which is a chemical found in many brands of antifreeze.
What the FDA did not tell the American people is that the levels found were so small that they were nearly undetectable - under one-percent – and certainly nowhere near being toxic or life-threatening. The FDA also failed to make clear that diethylene glycol is not a common ingredient of e-liquids, and many conspiracy theorists found it bizarre that the mysterious ingredient somehow appeared in the FDA’s sample in the first place.
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Nonetheless, the anti-vaping community very soon realized that nearly all e-liquids do contain another scary-sounding ingredient named propylene glycol (PG). And this, too, happens to appear as an ingredient of hundreds of brands of antifreeze. But again, these rumor-mongers were not reporting all the facts.
Foods that contain propylene glycol
Yes, propylene glycol is found in both antifreeze and e-liquids, but PG is also found in thousands of everyday grocery store products. Among the most well-known are Betty Crocker cake mixes and frostings. Others include McCormick’s food colorings, Eddy’s ice creams, Dunkin Donuts flavored teas, and nearly the entire Entenmann’s line of pastries including the chocolate cakes, lemon coconut cakes, or those tasty Little Bites brownies.
Furthermore, as far back as the 1940s, scientists have known that vaporized propylene glycol acts as an antibacterial. When heated to a gaseous state at approximately 80 degrees Fahrenheit, PG kills all kinds of airborne bacteria, including the illness-inducing pneumococci, streptococci and staphylococci. In fact, one of the very first studies published on the subject occurred in 1945 by Dr. Theodore Puck. The report entitled The Bactericidal action of propylene glycol vapor on microorganisms suspended in air still appears today in the U.S. National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health (NLB-NIH).
Contrary to the anti-vaping myth being spread across social media, vaping is not tantamount to drinking antifreeze. Just because e-liquids and antifreeze happen to share a common ingredient does not automatically translate to both products being equally as deadly. If this were the case, then the Betty Crocker Company has been secretly killing millions of cake-eaters over the decades with their taste-tempting treats. Perhaps it’s time for these vaping haters to once-and-for-all shut their cake holes.
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